Moldova Pride Week Underway – Homophobic Comments by President Causing Concern
GENDERDOC-M a long-term partner of Civil Rights Defenders has launched the LGBT Community Festival “Moldova Pride 2017” running from the 16th to the 21st of May 2017 culminating with a Pride Parade that will take place in the country’s capital Chisinau on Sunday entitled “NO FEAR”. The week of events is aimed at increasing the level of visibility, respect and acceptance for LGBT people in Moldova who have often been discriminated against, marginalised and subjected to hate speech and physical attacks.
“Since the historic passing on the Law Ensuring Equality in 2012, this year’s pride parade will now become the fifth time that an authorised solidarity march will have taken place in Chisinau. Together with the LGBT community in Moldova we have struggled but triumphed and each year the number of participants has grown as well as international interest and support. It is essential though that we do not become complacent as homophobia is a real virulent problem today in Moldovan society and that is why it is all the more important that we ensure our visibility to ensure the rights of the LGBT community” said Anastasia Danilova, Executive Director of GENDERDOC-M.
Pride Week began on Tuesday the 16 May with a host of events arranged over the six days with some notable highlights; a photo exhibition entitled “NO SILENCE” by Carolina Dutka, a project dedicated to the LGBT community in Moldova, although its viewing is forbidden in the breakaway region of Transnistria. Several conferences and a theatre performance are also on the agenda together with the releasing of a report on anti-LGBT hate speech. During the past year, local mass media materials on LGBT issues in Moldova have been monitored and analysed. The outcome of this analysis will be presented at a conference. Over ten embassies will march at the Pride Parade on Sunday 21 May as well as numerous representative from civil society groups across Europe.
While there is little doubt that Pride Week Moldova has grown in visibility in turn out over the past five years, there are worrying developments arising in the political sphere especially when it comes to retrenching laws on LGBT rights. There are huge discrepancies between the enforcement of the Law Ensuring Equality (2012) and the most recent actions taken by the Moldovan authorities.
On the 27 April 2016 two legislative initiatives (Draft Law 180) on the repeal of Law 121 on Equality and Draft Law 184 of the 28 April 2016 that suggests the sanctioning of propagation of homosexual relations were tabled before the Parliament. Although both failed, it has thrown the spot light on the possibility of threats and regression to fundamental freedoms and a serious concern to marginalised communities such as LGBT people.
In March 2017, the LGBT community faced similar challenges as a new legislative initiative was launched by the Moldovan parliament that could criminalise homosexuality. The legislation would seek to introduce the concept of homosexuality as a “sexual perversion”. So, any kind of information distributed by the LGBT community would be prosecuted on the same basis as possessing pornography
In addition to the above challenges on the 18 May 2017, the President of Moldova, Igor Dodon, posted on his official Facebook Page that he “is categorically against the march of the LGBT community, as it flagrantly contradicts our traditional values, Orthodox religion and morality”. He went on to state that “They cannot and will not be accepted by him, nor by the whole of society”.
The LGBT community in Moldova that has fought for so many years to attain the Law Ensuring Equality is very concerned by the statements of such a high ranking official and his actions “represent an abusive interference to the private life of the LGBT community, while also neglecting to take into account that the right to freedom of assembly is guaranteed under the constitution of Moldova” said Gheorgina Drumea, Executive Director of the Non-Discrimination Coalition of Moldova (CND)
The hope is that the Pride parade will proceed without any significant problems as in recent years but Gheorgina Drumea expresses her concerns especially in light of the President messages which she expresses as “overshooting his constitutional powers, thus violating the constitutional provisions on of the office of presidency” This is not the only hate speech directed towards the LGBT community according to Gheorgina Drumea. With the launch of the festival social networks have begun calling for counter demonstrations against the pride parade.
While things have improved, there is still the threat of counter demonstrations and hooligans who often incite actions against the LGBT community and their supporters. The laws unfortunately do not hold those that incite hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation accountable.
As Gheorgina Drumea reiterates “that in conclusion we would like to mention that if the President Moldova has decided to choose this way to divide society and ignore the equality of rights for each human being, we expect a considerable regression in ensuring respect for human rights and freedoms guaranteed under a number of International conventions to which Moldova is a party to”.
Civil Rights Defenders calls on the Moldovan authorities to provide every support to ensure the success of the Moldova Pride Parade 2017 and to ensure that the Law on Equality is fully upheld together with the entrenched and basic human right to freedom of assembly.
For further details on the human rights situation in Moldova please click here to access the Country Report compiled by Civil Rights Defenders.
Categories: Events and News.
Tags: Eurasia, Freedom of assembly, Moldova, and Protection against discrimination.