Posts Tagged 'Pride Celebrations'

Ambassador Eisen Marches in Pride Parade

Photo: Raymond Johnston

Photo: Raymond Johnston

Repost from The Prague Post

U.S. Ambassador to the Czech Republic Norman Eisen marched in the Prague Pride 2103 Parade, carrying the second banner after one held by the organizers. He participated in the first half hour of the march, dropping out about half way but two Prague embassy banners made it to the end, as did another one from the US Embassy in Berlin.

The Berlin banner carried sayings by Presidents John F. Kennedy and Barack Obama in support of human rights and gay rights respectively. “Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law,” the sign said next to a stylized picture of Obama.

“All men are created equal. The rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened,” the banner said next to Kennedy’s likeness. Another embassy banner quoted Secretary of State Hillary Clinton equating human rights and gay rights.

In another show of support for gay rights, the Gloriette, a small but highly visible building in the US Embassy complex, is being lit at night in a rainbow of colors until Aug. 18, the end of the week-long Prague Pride Festival. “The Gloriette is a garden pavilion perched high on the hill behind the U.S. Embassy in Prague. It flies the American flag and is the most visible sign of the U.S. presence in the Czech Republic. During Communist rule the Gloriette provided a beacon of inspiration as a symbol of freedom and democracy,” the embassy said on its website.

“The Embassy of the United States of America in Prague is proud to participate in the annual Prague Pride Festival for the third consecutive year,” the statement continued, adding that it supported the festival through a grant program. Continue Reading

Pride Retrospective: the U.S. Helsinki Commission Should Engage

Baltic Pride

photo: Associated Press

It’s common to think of Pride-related events as celebrations of gay and lesbian diversity, and indeed of community. Certainly that’s the spirit that pervades the Pride season in major U.S. cities. But Pride events in Eastern Europe and the Baltic region often carry a more basic message: that gays and lesbians deserve the same rights and privileges as any other people. And that message is not, of course, always welcome.

This as in past years, Pride events were a source of controversy, even hostility, in much of the east European region. In Poland and Croatia, anti-gay protesters disrupted parades – and while police generally sought to protect Pride participants, many observers saw the response in Croatia as inadequate to the task. Permits were denied in St. Petersburg. In Moscow, Russian security forces detained Pride marchers, ignoring the right of free assembly that the Russian constitution ostensibly protects.

While the State Department rightly protested Russian actions, the U.S. Helsinki Commission was silent.  A bipartisan Congressional panel, the Commission traditionally has been a fierce advocate of protecting and advancing what we see as fundamental freedoms, including the rights to free speech, peaceable assembly and freedom of expression. However, the Commission took no public stand against the abuses witnessed in this year’s Pride season, nor did it publicly commend those governments that properly sought to protect these basic rights.

Speaking loudly to broad principles but remaining silent when those principles are not applied – in this case, to gay people – is an all-hat-and-no-cattle approach that undercuts our county’s foreign policy credibility. It hollows out the bipartisan U.S. foreign policy priority of developing a greater understanding that countries which respect and protect their citizens’ rights are, in fact, our best partners in enlarging the boundaries of freedom and prosperity worldwide. And it undercuts U.S. leadership in the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), where America’s voice has been crucial in forging a better transatlantic understanding of the democratic rights and obligations that governments must protect.

That OSCE leadership can be regained if, over the next nine months, the Commission finds ways to advocate that the rights of gay and transgender people must be protected, at Pride events and beyond. Through briefings or hearings, public statements and private communications to OSCE partners, the Commission can make clear that the civil and human rights of LGBT people are no less important than those enjoyed by any other segment of the population. In this way, the Commission can convincingly reassert fundamental U.S. principles while establishing its own relevance to some of the most active and fractious battles for human rights in the world today.

Human Rights First calls for the respect of fundamental freedoms of assembly and association

Gay Pride Parade

Repost from Human Rights First | by Innokenty Grekov

Human Rights First calls on governments to abide by commitments to respect the fundamental freedoms of assembly and association and to take adequate measures to ensure security and protection for all. However, many States have failed to fully ensure these fundamental freedoms, and a number of governments actively suppress them. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) individuals have been particularly affected by this suppression of rights and continue the uphill struggle for the right to freedom of assembly and association.

Gay pride parades offer an opportunity for many LGBTI individuals to exercise the right to freedom of expression. Historically, gay pride parades have come to symbolize the resistance to intolerance and bigotry that surround LGBTI people in their daily lives. Restricting these peaceful demonstrations is particularly damaging and unacceptable. Continue reading ‘Human Rights First calls for the respect of fundamental freedoms of assembly and association’


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