NGO Human Rights Action (HRA) with pleasure helped colleagues from NGOs Hiperion and LGBT Forum Progress to file complaint against the decision of the Police directorate – Center of security Nikšić, to ban peaceful gathering to promote rights of sexual and gender minorities (LGBT) which was supposed to happen in Nikšić on the 18th of September 2015.
In the complaint we highlighted that the decision of the Police directorate, banning the peaceful gathering in Nikšić because it could “endanger the movement and work of a larger number of citizens due to the fact that a there is a real danger that the holding of the public gathering would endanger the safety of persons and property and it would cause the disturbance of public order and peace to a larger extent”, has been based on wrong estimation of facts relating to ”the real danger to safety”, as well as wrong implementation of the law – Constitution of Montenegro, European Convention on Human Rights, International Covenant on Civil and Political rights and the Law on Public Gatherings, which guarantee the right to hold also those peaceful public gatherings which may disturb, offend and cause reactions even of the majority within a democratic society.
HRA pointed out that the Police directorate, according to the European standards and constitutional order in Montenegro was obliged to take appropriate measures to ensure the right to peaceful gathering on the previously reported route or the alternative route – as proposed by the organisers – instead of supporting the opponents of human rights, those who threatened to use violence, by responding to their wish not to hold the reported gathering. We have reminded that the state is obliged to use criminal prosecution of those who threaten with violence instead of banning the gatherings of those who do not threat with violence.
HRA also emphasised that the police did not reasonably assess that members of the Yugoslav Communist Party – the Municipality Committee Nikšić represent “real danger of violence and disturbances of public order and peace to a large extent”, as well as that their security assessment of dangerous “sports fans and other groups” who were not identified in the decision is not particularly convincing. Either way, the Police had more than enough time – two and a half months since the public gathering was reported – to in line with the european standards neutralize the potential danger of possible conflicts, that is to prosecute those who have threatened with violence, as it was done in Belgrade, where recently a safe Pride parade was held.
We hope that the Police directorate itself will revoke its ban, or that the Ministry of Interior will do it. In case this does not happen, HRA will continue to provide free legal aid to the colleagues from Hiperion and LGBT Forum Progress in this case before the Administrative and Constitutional Courts, and furthermore, before the European Court of Human Rights.
We hope that the Ministry of Interior will have enough understanding for the European standards and that we will not have to wait several years more for the European Court of Human Rights to tell to Montenegro, what it has already told other states several times in its verdicts (last time in 2010 in the case Aleksey vs. Russia, which was delivered to the Police directorate together with the complaint).
HRA expects that the Police directorate will decide to secure the peaceful public gathering which was reported to take place in Nikšić, so that this city to will get the opportunity to present itself as a tolerant place, whose citizens are capable to support or enable the peaceful public gatherings of sexual and gender minorities and others supporting their human rights.