With concern we observe what is happening in Riga, where our colleagues are organizing the Baltic Pride 2009. Below you will find more detailed information from ILGA-Europe press release posted today. If you can, speak loud about it and show support with the Baltic Pride and all our friends!
14 May 2009
For immediate release
The Baltic Pride March is banned:
Latvia is turning its back to European democracy
This morning the Riga City Council has banned the Baltic Pride March which was planned for this Saturday and initially allowed by the City a few days ago. The City Council’s Committee on Meetings and Demonstrations which initially allowed the March and this morning banned it was pressurised by the members of the Riga City Council. Two days ago 34 of 60 members of the Riga City Council signed a letter demanding the ban of the Baltic Pride March.
ILGA-Europe is appalled by such u-turn and calling for the Latvian President, Latvian Prime Minister and Mayor of Riga to immediately interfere on this matter and to reinstall democratic rights.
The European Court of Human Rights clearly stated that banning LGBT Pride Marches is breaching the European Convention of Human Rights (3). The Latvian Constitution guarantees the right to peaceful assembly. LGBT Marches have already taken place in Riga in 2005, 2007 and 2008. All previous bans of LGBT Marches in Riga had been overruled by the Latvian courts.
Dirk de Meirleir, Executive Director of ILGA-Europe, said:
“This is disgraceful violation of human rights of LGBT people and a huge blow to Latvia’s basic democratic values and rights.
It is now the time for the Latvian political elite to save Latvia’s reputation and prove that the country which is member of the European Union is truly committed to the values of democracy, respect of fundamental rights and freedom for assembly and expression, even in a period of serious economic and financial problems.
Latvia how has a choice to make and to show the world which direction it wants to take – towards European integration, embracement and respect of fundamental human right values or taking a backwards step and behave similarly as Moscow City authorities by arrogant disrespect for basic democratic rights.”
For more information please contact
Juris Lavrikovs at + 32 2 609 54 16 / + 32 496 708 375
Notes for editors:
(1) ILGA-Europe is the European Region of ILGA, the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association and works for equality and human rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans & intersex people in Europe: http://www.ilga-europe.org
(2) The Baltic Pride: http://www.balticpride.eu
(3) Judgement in the case of Bączkowski and Others v. Poland, Application no. 1543/06. 3 May 2007