Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Freedom of Assembly developments

Firstly this from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (which is connected to the European Convention on Human Rights) has issued this statement entitled "Ban on a Moscow demonstration by homosexuals - Written question No 497 to the Chairman of the Committee of Ministers" which is a question (as I understand it) to the Russian representative and thier reply. This is in relation to the violent suppression of the Moscow Pride event last year.

The clear involvement of the Parliamentary Assembly is particularly helpful givebn the ongoing difficulties facing Pride events in Latvia (a member of the EU) as well as Russia.

Second this in relation to the holding of Pride events in Moldova, also in relation to the obligations to allow freedom of assembly under the European Convention, upholding the right to freedom of assembly and freedom of expression.

Again it is a welcome sign that national courts are making it clear that freedom of assembly cannot be curtailed in order to prevent Pride events from taking place.

Similarly proposed legislation in Nigeria would have as a consequence, not only the banning of any Pride event, but the banning of LGB people meeting together in a house or setting up a campaign organisation of any kind, in addition ot making a criminal offence with 5 years imprisonment for any positive portrayal of gay people in any media whatever or any same sex religious ceremony - a breech of freedom of assembly, freedomof expressiona nd freedom of religion, guaranteed under the African Charter on Human and People's Rights see arts 8, 9, 10 together with arts 1, 2 and 3.

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