The European Court of Human Rights this morning ruled that the ban on the 2005 Pride event in Warsaw was a violation of human rights. The seven judges, including one from Poland, were unanimous.
The Strasbourg-based court agreed that freedom of association and assembly, prohibition of discrimination and the right to an effective remedy had been denied, all of which are guaranteed in the European Convention on Human Rights.
In May 2005 Lech Kaczynski, as mayor of Warsaw, refused to issue a permit for the Gay Pride parade.
A short while later he issued a permit for a “normality parade,” which was denounced by the International Lesbian and Gay Association as a “demonstration whose main objective was an incitation to hate and intolerance toward LGBT people.”
In October 2005 Mr Kaczynski was elected President of Poland.
In 2004 Warsaw marchers defied a ban and peacefully demonstrated. Skinheads associated with the far-right All-Polish Youth assaulted them.
The All-Polish Youth is affiliated with the League of Polish Families, and was founded in 1989 by Education Minister Roman Giertych.
In its judgement, the Court said:
“The harmonious interaction of people and groups with varied identities was essential for achieving social cohesion.
“It was only natural that, where a civil society functioned in a healthy manner, the participation of citizens in the democratic process was to a large extent achieved through belonging to associations in which they might integrate with each other and pursue common objectives collectively.
“The positive obligation of a state to secure genuine and effective respect for freedom of association and assembly was of particular importance to those with unpopular views or belonging to minorities, because they were more vulnerable to victimisation.”
The European Court of Human Rights is not an EU institution, but rather is a creation of the Council of Europe.
The court enforces the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.
It considers complaints of human rights violations committed by states who are members of the European Council.
Cases can be brought to the court by both member countries and citizens of those nations.
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