LGBTI equality and human rights in Europe and Central Asia

Moldova must strike down law banning ‘homosexual propaganda’

On 23 May 2013, the Parliament of Moldova introduced a new article “Public activities with negative impact on minors” in the Code of Administrative Offences which is almost identical to the recently adopted Russian law banning the dissemination of information on lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) issues and threatens the very existence of LGBTI movement.

The new article bans ‘dissemination of information/or carrying out acts aimed at spreading prostitution, paedophilia, pornography or some other relations than those related to marriage and family, in accordance with the Constitution and the Family Code” [emphasis added]. The punishment is from a fine to prohibition of activities from 3 months to up to one year.

ILGA-Europe is deeply alarmed by the adoption of this article and the manner in which it was passed. The process of adoption took place in a secretive manner and the civil society was not aware neither was engaged in the process.

Additionally, the language and construction of this article almost fully mirrors the way Russia banned ‘homosexual propaganda’.

This discriminatory law also goes against Moldova’s commitments under the visa liberalisation negotiation with the European Union which requires the introduction of measures against discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation. Despite significant opposition, Moldova introduced ban on sexual orientation discrimination in employment thus demonstrated its willingness and ability to meet EU requirements.

Martin K.I. Christensen, Co-Chair of ILGA-Europe’s Executive Board, said:

“We are shocked by such secretive adoption of a law which creates serious limitations to freedom of expression for LGBTI organisations and anyone referring to LGBTI issues and clearly discriminates on the grounds of sexual orientation.

We call on the Moldovan parliamentarians to urgently strike down this law which directly violates the requirements and conditions of a visa liberalisation negotiation between the EU and Moldova. We also call on the EU institutions and Member States not to conclude this process with Moldovan government later this year in Vilnius if the law is not abolished.”

Laws banning ‘homosexual propaganda’ and limiting freedom of expression of LGBTI people were declared incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights by the ‘Venice Commission’ and condemned by the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly.

According to our Rainbow Europe’s Index (May 2013), Moldova came 46th among 49 European countries in terms of laws and policies affecting the human rights of LGBTI people.