Moldovan authorities have “to ensure full respect of the fundamental rights of all minorities, including sexual minorities.”

That is the resolution of the Parliamentary Assembly of of the Council of Europe (PACE) entitled About functioning of democratic institutions in Moldova.

The report of the monitoring committee about the honouring of obligations and commitments by Moldova was adopted by PACE earlier this month.

PACE rapporteurs have given over a large part of the report to violations of the right to freedom of assembly for LGBT people in Moldova.

In particular, the report states: “We deplore the fact that after a final ruling by the Supreme Court of Moldova the Chisinau authorities continue to violate the law and deprive the representatives of the LGBT community of their right to freedom of assembly.

“Such situation cannot be tolerated in a democratic state governed by the rule of law. We expect the Moldovan authorities to take all necessary measures to put an end to this practice.”

Around 20 activists attempted to march for gay rights in the Moldovan capital Chisinau last May.

People threw eggs at the gay Pride marchers, and the police stopped them from laying flowers at the Monument to the Victims of Repression.

A government committee had banned the march on the grounds that it could pose a public disorder threat, that it would promote sexual propaganda and that it would undermine Moldovan Christian values.

The decision was despite the ruling of the Moldovan Supreme Court last December that a previous ban on the LGBT Pride march was illegal.

It was the third year in a row that Moldovan authorities banned the gay Pride march in the capital.

Last month the country’s Supreme Court reiterated its previous position that the refusal by the Chisinau City Hall to authorise the march violates Moldovan law on the freedom of assembly, the Moldovan Constitution and the European Convention for Human Rights.

“We do not ask for special rights, but for equal rights,” said Alexei Marcicov, President of Molovan LGBT organisation Genderdoc-M in response to the PACE resolution.

“Prohibiting public manifestations for LGBT people is an act of direct discrimination, prohibited under international conventions Moldova is a party of.

“It is particularly appalling that the city authorities have neglected by now two decisions in our favour of the Supreme Court, causing us to seek justice in the European Court for Human Rights.

“Next year the ‘All Different – All Equal’ festival will take place with or without city’s permission, and we believe protection of participants will be the responsibility of the police and

local authorities, as recently stated by the new mayor of Chisinau.”

Moldova is not part of the EU, but is influenced by its neighbour Romania, an EU member state since January 2007.

The small landlocked country of four million people gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.

The 47-member Council of Europe predates the EU.

It promotes and protects democracy, educational and sporting co-operation and created the European Court of Human Rights.

Last week’s meeting of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly was dominated by comments made by a Russian religious leader.

Orthodox Patriarch Alexy II had called homosexuality an “illness” and attacked what he called “homosexual propaganda” influencing young people during an address to MPs from across Europe.

The patriarch was there as part of council’s regular debates with political and religious leaders.

He said homosexuality was “an illness and a distortion of the human personality” comparable to kleptomania.

His comments were met with applause by many of the Assembly members present, although some walked out in protest.

The UK delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe was led by former Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott.

He joined parliamentarians from all the assembly’s major political groups saying that any dialogue between cultures and religions must be based on mutual respect and tolerance.

More details about the situation of the LGBT community in Moldova here.