European court rules against Russian ‘gay propaganda’ law

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THE EUORPEAN Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) ruled on Tuesday that a Russian law banning the promotion of homosexuality breaches European treaty rules on freedom of expression and is discriminatory against gay people.

Three Russian gay rights activists brought the case against the 2013 federal statute, widely known as the ‘gay propaganda’ law, after they were fined for holding banners to encourage acceptance of homosexuality between 2009 and 2012.Human rights observers argue that this law has been broadly applied to target and intimidate the LGBT community in Russia.

The ECtHR concurred, arguing that its vague terminology allowed unlimited scope for abuse.The European Court of Human Rights was established by the European Convention on Human Rights – (formally the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms) an international treaty drafted by the Council of Europe to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms in Europe.Any person who feels his or her rights have been violated under the Convention by a state party can take a case to the Court.

Judgments finding violations are binding on the States concerned and they are obliged to execute them.Russia has had a strained relationship with the ECtHR since they overruled a case decided by the Russian Constitutional Court in 2012. In 2016, the ECtHR ruled Russia had violated the European Convention on Human Rights in all but six of its 228 judgments in Russian cases.PHOTO CAPTIONAnti-gay protesters try to tear a rainbow flag during an LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) community rally in central Moscow, RussiaPhoto credit: Reuters

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