Saturday

21st Sep 2019

Focus

EU diplomats urge Russia to allow gay pride march

EU diplomats have tried and failed to get Russia to allow a historic gay pride march in Moscow, but foreign relations chief Catherine Ashton is to keep up pressure.

The pride event - billed as the first ever to be held legally in the Russian capital - is planned to take place on 28 May.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

  • Leading Russian gay rights activist Nikolai Alekseev being led away by police during a previous - unauthorised - pride event (Photo: Beenni)

The Moscow mayor's office is currently considering whether or not to allow it. But a report by the Interfax news agency in late April citing sources in the Moscow regional security department augurs badly for its chances of getting a permit.

"They are not likely to get it, even under the guise of a cultural and educational action," the security contact said.

A group of eight mostly liberal, left-wing and green MEPs in a letter to Ashton on 2 May said: "We call on you to make clear to Moscow city and regional authorities, via the delegation of the EU to the Russian federation, that the European Union holds freedom of assembly to be a fundamental right."

The MEPs cited two rulings by the Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, one as recently as 11 April, obliging Russia to let pride marches go ahead in line with its commitments as a member of the Council of Europe.

A spokeswoman for Ashton told EUobserver the pride event featured prominently in a meeting of EU and Russian diplomats on 4 May in Brussels on the issue of human rights in general.

"The European Union delegation to the human rights consultations specifically raised with its counterparts the issue of the organisation of an LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans-gender] pride event in Moscow, and regretted that the EU was unable to welcome the previously announced authorisation of the event," Ashton spokeswoman Maja Kocjancic said in a written statement.

"The European Union encouraged Russia to put an end to restrictions to freedom of assembly, not least when those are justified by discrimination or prejudice against certain social groups."

The Russian side said only that it would give an answer no earlier than 14 May, while Kocjancic note that the EU embassy in Moscow will "follow this issue closely."

She added that gay rights are an important part of Ashton's diplomacy.

"The EU is strongly committed to the entitlement of all persons to enjoy the full range of human rights without discrimination, and seeks to actively promote and protect the enjoyment of all human rights by LGBT people through all the different tools available to it within its external action," she said.

For her part, Anna Sevortian, the director of Human Rights Watch's bureau in Russia, said Moscow authorities are "quite regressive" when it coms to LGBT rights.

"Many ordinary Russians wouldn't perceive it [the LGBT community] as normal. So gay people aren't that visible. In larger cities it is becoming a part of mainstream urban culture, but the transition is going pretty slowly. There is discrimination and crimes aimed at gay people."

EU court bars tests for gay asylum seekers

Authorities in EU countries can no longer impose controversial psychological tests to determine whether an aslyum seeker is telling the truth about their homosexuality.

LGBTI protection still lacking in EU

Despite some welcome advances, some legal rights for the LGBTI community are lacking in EU member states, and the rise of the populist right is making things worse, conference in Warsaw is told.

News in Brief

  1. Ireland: right Brexit deal is 'not yet close'
  2. UK secrecy on Brexit holds back wider EU talks
  3. Feminist mass protest in Spain after 19 murders this summer
  4. Global climate strike starts ahead of UN summit
  5. UK Brexit minister to meet Barnier on Friday
  6. Russia-Ukraine gas deal talks show 'progress'
  7. Nobel economist: Ireland 'not good EU citizen' on taxes
  8. Germany takes carbon border tax on board

Opinion

The dangers of resurgent nationalism in Greece

Virulent nationalism in Greece has been stirred up in the context of austerity and renewed negotiations with Macedonia. Recent attempts by the government to address the inequalities suffered by LGBT persons have also been met with a reactionary backlash.

Supported by

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  2. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  6. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  8. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  9. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  10. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  11. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat

Latest News

  1. Europe goes to New York This WEEK
  2. Nine EU 'commissioners' asked to clarify declarations
  3. Dismiss Italy's Salvini at your peril
  4. Malta PM accused of 'blackmail' over slain reporter
  5. Diplomats back Romania's Kovesi for EU top prosecutor
  6. Brexit raises questions for EU defence integration
  7. Low-carbon cities can unlock €21tn by 2050, report finds
  8. France, Italy want 'automatic' distribution of migrants

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us