Saturday, December 17, 2005

Poland Gay Rights Update: Warsaw taken to European Court of Human Rights

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According to an article published by UK Gay News, Polish gays are taking the Mayor of Warsaw (who is also President-elect of Poland) to court: The European Court of Human Rights. Organizers of the Warsaw Equality March claim that the Mayor of Warsaw and the City of Warsaw illegally banning the demonstration. The organizers claim that the Mayor of Warsaw banned the demostration on ideological grounds rather than legal grounds. According to the article:
The claim was lodged jointly by the Equality Foundation and organisers of five rallies connected to the Equality Parade: Tomasz Baczkowski (Equality Foundation), Robert Biedron and Tomasz Szypula (Campaign Against Homophobia), Yga Kostrzewa and Krzysztof Kliszczynski (Lambda Warsaw). Equality March last June was not authorised by the then President, or Mayor, of Warsaw, Lech Kaczynski (below), who is now President-elect of Poland (he was elected in October and takes office on December 23). Kaczynski cited “traffic law” as the reason for what was effectively a ban. ... The claimants argue that, first of all, their right to freedom of peaceful assembly as guaranteed by Article 11 of the European Convention on Human rights was violated. In the opinion of the claimants all legal actions undertaken by the Mayor of Warsaw were based on political and ideological grounds, not the letter of law. Rules of the Traffic Law (with regard to the Equality Parade) and rules of the Law on Assemblies (with regard to rallies connected to the Equality Parade) were used as instruments to ban the Equality Parade using arguments which seemingly were supposed to conform to the law. However, these arguments failed to meet standards of human rights based on the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights. Secondly, the claimants argue that their right to an effective remedy guaranteed by Article 13 of the Convention was also violated since they were not able to file an effective appeal against the Mayor’s decision before the date of the Equality Parade and the rallies. The ban on Equality Parade 2005 showed deep imperfection of the Traffic Law. The Law may be used by the authorities to place an arbitrary ban on assemblies and decisions may be issued on dates which make it impossible to file an appeal. In the opinion of the claimants, the Mayor issued and delivered decisions on dates which made it impossible to the organisers to appeal against the decisions before June 11. Finally, the claimants also argue violation of Article 14 of the Convention which precludes discrimination for any reasons in the enjoyment of rights and freedoms of an individual. In the opinion of the claimants, the actions of the Mayor were discriminatory in nature.
As stated in earlier reports, the actions of the Polish government could lead to trouble sin Polan'ds affiliation with the European Union, which has strict human rights codes and takes violations of those codes very seriously. Technorati Tags: , , , ,