The results of IX LGBT Human Rights Forum “Minsk Gay Pride 2013″: events banned or tripped up

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The Organizing Committee of the IX LGBT Human Rights Forum regrets to state that “Minsk Gay Pride 2013″  faced with unprecedented pressure from the state authorities, what was resulted in the disruption of the biggest forum events, in the ban of public actions oriented on support of tolerance towards the LGBT community in Belarus and in direct pressure on the forum organizers by the security forces.

In frame of the IX LGBT Human Rights Forum “Minsk Gay Pride 2013″, that was timed to coincide with the Human Rights Day under the slogan “We are!” 10 various events have been planned for implementation over the period from 6th up 12th of December. As a result, three events were tripped up: the ceremonial opening of the forum, the concert “Against violence towards LGBT youth”, Pride party and final of the Award “Miss & Mister Tolerance”; moreover two public events were banned by the Minsk City Executive Committee.

In less than a day forum organizers were denied in a placement of the club «Loft Cafe», where the ceremonial opening and the concert “Against violence towards LGBT youth” were scheduled to be held on the 6th of December 2013, in spite of the fact that the organizers have received the road show certificate for the concert in advance, as required by the Belarusian legislation norms. Director of the club «Loft Cafe», at the last moment, refused the forum organizers the placement on the grounds that he “does not like the idea to make a concert in frame of the LGBT Pride“.

December 11, Minsk City Executive Committee did not allow the procession to be held along the boulevard Shevchenko and picket to be held in front of the club “Casta Diva” on Kropotkin Street, referring to some of the formal application inconsistencies with the law “On mass events”. It should be noted, that in March 2012, the Venice Commission and The Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) made a joint conclusion of non-conformity of this law with the international standards. Since that time the law was not changed and still continues to operate.

December 12, the city authorities denied the opportunity to hold a picket in a park “People Friendship” cause some children’s sport events were already planned to be held in frame of the World Snow Day. Although it is worth noting that the World Snow Day is celebrated on the 20th of January.

December 7, at around 22:20 p.m. a rented flat for regional Pride participants was raided by police. The police copied the passport data of 9 people that were presented there. All round the police were allowing themselves to express offensive jokes and threats towards the people in a flat. After all the police demanded everyone to leave the apartment threatening them by possible arrests.

Comparing the conditions of the Forum 2012 and 2013, the Organizing Committee  of “Minsk Gay Pride” confidently declares substantial weakening of the situation with LGBT rights in Belarus, which is reflected in the inability to conduct some private events in support of LGBT and in the increased negative attention of the force structures officers towards activities in support of tolerance with the LGBT community. The right to peaceful assembly, as it was in previous years, still remains as the formal articles in the State Constitution.

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