568. On 11 May 2006, the Special Representative sent an urgent appeal concerning the Moscow Gay Pride Parade, which is due to take place on 27 May 2006 to mark the anniversary of the abolition of Soviet laws against homosexuality in 1993 and the International Day against homophobia. The Gay Pride Parade is a peaceful demonstration organized to provide a platform for discussion about tolerance, anti- discrimination and respect for the rights of all persons regardless of their perceived sexual orientation. According to the information received, on 16 February 2006 the press spokesman of the Mayor of Moscow told journalists that “the Moscow government is not even going to consider allowing a gay parade” and stated “that the Mayor was firm that the city government will not allow a gay parade in any form, open or disguised, and any attempts to organize an unsanctioned action will be resolutely quashed”. It has also been reported that the first vice speaker of the State Duma stated that “there are several million people in Moscow who do not want to have this procession. Who is going to protect their rights?”In the light of such statements by the authorities, concern was expressed that those who wish to peacefully participate in such a parade may be prevented from doing so. The Special Representative encouraged the Government of Russia to ensure its positive obligations to support, facilitate and protect human rights defenders and that the Moscow Gay Pride Parade is allowed to take place.

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