Genderdoc-M v Moldova (no. 9106/06), 2012

The European Court of Human Rights found that by prohibiting a demonstration promoting the interests of the LGBT community, the Republic of Moldova had violated its obligations under Articles 11 (freedom of assembly or association), 13 (right to an effective remedy), and 14 (prohibition of discrimination) of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Genderdoc-M v Republic of Moldova, concerned the government of Moldova’s denial of permission to Genderdoc-M, a non-governmental organisation representing LGBT individuals, to hold a peaceful demonstration in front of the Parliament on 27 May 2005. The government argued that the refusal was based on ‘public order’ and ‘public morality’. The claimant had exhausted all domestic courts and submitted the claim to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). The ECtHR considered violations under Articles 11 (freedom of assembly and association) and 14 (non-discrimination) of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

In assessing the contravention of Articles 11 and 14 of the Convention, the court held that ‘where a difference of treatment is based on sex or sexual orientation the margin of appreciation afforded to the State is narrow, and in such situations the principle of proportionality does not merely require the measure chosen to be suitable in general for achievement of the aim sought; it must also be shown that it was necessary in the circumstances.’ The government of Moldova argued that the applicant was not discriminated against because of their sexual orientation. However, the court found that ‘the reason for the ban imposed on the event proposed by the applicant was the authorities’ disapproval of demonstrations which they considered to promote homosexuality.’ As such, the ECtHR held that there had been a violation of Article 14 in conjunction with Article 11 of the Convention. The court also declared that there was a violation of Article 13, the right to effective remedy, taken in conjunction with Article 11.

The Republic of Moldova were ordered to pay damages and expenses to the claimant.

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