Hungary: Authorities must reverse ban on gay pride march

Amnesty International is urging the Hungarian authorities to reverse a resolution issued by the Chief of Budapest Police on 11 February banning the Gay Pride march scheduled for 18 June 2011 as part of the Budapest Pride events.   

Amnesty International is deeply concerned that the banning of the Pride march is a violation of the rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and non-discrimination as set out in several international human rights conventions to which Hungary is party.   

According to the police resolution, the banning of the Pride March’s proposed route is justified by an alleged disruption of traffic which, according to the authorities, could not be rectified by selecting alternative routes.   

Amnesty International is concerned that such a decision is disproportionate and without reasonable justification and that it does not take into consideration the rights to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression of LGBTI (LGBT) people in Hungary.

On 15 February, the Rainbow Mission Foundation, assisted by the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union and the Hungarian Helsinki Committee, appealed to the Budapest Metropolitan Court against the Budapest Police resolution.

According to information provided by the Rainbow Mission Foundation, organisers of the Pride, the Pride march and its route had been registered in September 2010. Reportedly no objections had been raised by police then. However, after the organisers requested an extension to the route in February 2010, in order to end the march closer to the Hungarian parliament, the police issued a resolution that prohibited the march altogether.

As to the proposed extension, Amnesty International notes that in light of the issue the Pride march intends to draw attention to, the Hungarian Parliament clearly is of considerable symbolic importance. Hungarian authorities have a duty to apply the principle of proportionality and therefore have to facilitate the Pride march within range of its intended audience as far as possible.

Diversity and tolerance, equality before the law for all, no discrimination on sexual orientation and gender identity grounds, are all messages that LGBT rights activists are planning to take to the streets of Budapest on 18 June 2011. The authorities are obliged by international law to enable them to do so.

Amnesty International calls on the Hungarian police and government authorities to ensure that the rights of the LGBT community to freedom of peaceful assembly, freedom of expression and non-discrimination are guaranteed, including through the cooperation of the relevant authorities with the organisers, so that they are able to make preparations for, and participate in, the 2011 Budapest Pride without obstruction, hindrance or threat.

Background

The rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association are recognised in numerous human rights treaties including in Article 21 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and Article 11 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR) to which Hungary is a state party.

Under international law, any restrictions on the right of freedom of peaceful assembly must be necessary in order to address a legitimate aim.

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