European court: Russia's ban on LGBT rallies violates rights

Legal Review

The European Court of Human Rights issued a fresh rebuke to the Kremlin on Tuesday, ruling that Russia's continued ban on LGBT rallies is discriminatory and represents a violation of human rights.

Judges at the court based in the eastern French city of Strasbourg called on Moscow to introduce "systemic measures" to remedy the breaches to the European Convention of Human Rights that the Russian Federation became a signatory to in 1996.

It's unlikely Russia will implement the court's recommendation of the need for "a sustained and long-term effort to adopt general measures" to ease the freedom to march and counter LGBT discrimination.

The current case was brought by seven Russian activists over the period 2009-2014 who were concerned by the impact of the ban. Russian authorities have been putting obstacles on LGBT rallies for years, and systematically turning down LGBT permit requests.

The court said Russia's blocking of public LGBT events couldn't be justified by any concern about public disorder and it breached the right to freedom of assembly.

The ban "had clearly been motivated by the authorities' disapproval of the theme of the demonstrations," the court concluded.

Several Russian politicians and lawmakers have recently hit back against the court, calling on the government of President Vladimir Putin to break with the ECHR over a perceived politicization in its rulings.

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