Category Archives: News

4 LESBIANS CRUELLY ATTACKED IN A CAFÉ IN BELGRADE

Report after the Press conference in Media Center Belgrade

http://www.mc.rs/u-beogradu-napadnute-i-pretucene-cetiri-lezbejke.4.html?eventId=9899

Saturday evening 26-27 of September 2015, after the book-reading public event Dragoslava Barzut, a lesbian writer and feminist activist went the nearest café with three other lesbian friends from the lesbian football team. They were relaxed & singing in the small cafe with live music, filled with around 40 people altogether. Around 1am after midnight one guy came in and started to beat one by one of them systematically, screaming and cursing ‘Lesbians Lesbians!’.

Dragoslava Barzut, writer and activist of Labris

Dragoslava Barzut, writer and activist of Labris

As a writer, Labris activist and a lesbian, I feel morally responsible to public condemn the assault on three of my friends and me. I am thinking now of all friends and parents, who are having a hard time at the moment because of my sexual orientation, but today I choose to love myself.

Three of them were injured in this attack, one tooth broken, eye damaged, one fell down on her head, leg damaged. One was hiding behind the fridge. When they were little back to sense, Dragoslava Barzut called in the police and in the mealtime another men came to beat them up, screaming more words against Lesbians. This one had highly aggressive energy and then the waitress, for whom Dragoslava noted is ‘thin and small’, stood in between the raged man and the lesbians to stop him! She then grabbed the lesbians and locked them in the small WC. That’s how the violence stopped. While they were locked the police came and took the notes and brought two of them to the Urgent center for medical check up.

The hypothesis is that the violent men are part of the violence football fun clubbers “Rad” that were already known for homophobic attacks – because during the evening they sang their songs with the live music. Important fact is that Dragoslava Barzut was leading the Campaign Against Homophobia in Sport, and was on this same place in Belgrade Press Center last year talking about it.

On the press conference the lawyer from YUCOM organisation said they will file a case using the law on hate crime, that was passed in Serbia in 2012, but there is not one verdict using it.

After the press conference today, with small number of media and about twenty activists of lesbian, gay, trans and queer community from Belgrade, some of us lesbians were commenting that this is first so cruel physical attack on lesbians in the public space in this country. Beating lesbians=women in public is not gentlemanlike, usually the violent men beat men. But analyzing the many comments on social media lesbians came to conclusion that the modern criminal men understand that lesbians are not (classic) women (!!) so they beat us more then ever before

​! What would Monique Wittig say about it? (“Lesbians are not women “)

At the end of very emotional speech in the Press conference in Belgrade today, Dragoslava Barzut said:

“As a writer, activist of Labris and a Lesbian I think now of all my friends and family members who are suffering because of my sexual orientation, but I choose to love myself today. I feel moral responsibility to condemn the lesbophobic attack on my friends and me.”

​​The press conference ended in long applause of solidarity from the lesbian gay trans and queer community for the four brave lesbians who had to endure the violence for all of us who could have been on their place, to thank them for their courage, fear and visions that are ours ​​​too.

Lepa Mlađenović

13th Istanbul LGBTI Pride Parade Under Brutal Police Violence

Istanbul LGBTI Pride Week completed its 23rd edition last Sunday. The Pride Parade which has been annually held since its first edition in 2003 is the final celebration of a week long pride week inIstanbul. This year, the 13th LGBTI Pride Parade was attacked bypolice forces at the command of the Governorate of Istanbul


The ever since peaceful and colorful march of Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, Trans*, Intersex, and their allies was brutally attacked by the police forces using tear gas, water cannons, rubber bullets, and allowing violent Islamo-fascist groups with bats, knives, etc. to scare off Pride participants. The command was given by the Governorate of Istanbul who arbitrarily banned the Pride Parade at the very last moment without even informing the organizers. The reason brought into agenda is Ramadan.

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The Islamo-fascist newspapers such as Yeni Akit, Vahdet, Milat, and a couple of wider mainstream media organs such as Star, Sabah, etc have been publishing a series of targeting, hate motivatedarticles and news about the Pride Parade and LGBTI organizations, activists as “perverts”, “deviated people”, “honor-less act in Ramadan”, etc.

The police attack started at around 16:30 (half an hour before the parade should have been taking place). The heavy use of water cannons, tear gas, and rubber bullets even inside of the places where participants wanted to secure themselves, caused several injuries. The police attack continued at night during the Pride Week Closure Party in The Mekan. Many people inside the arena were heavily effected by the intense tear gas thrown inside through the terrace.

LGBTI organizations and LGBTI Pride Week Committee published a declaration protesting against this unacceptable situation. You may find it in the attached file.

Kaos GL, TIHV (Turkey Human Rights Foundation), and IHD (Human Rights Association) declared their support and offered legal consultancy to every injured participant of the Pride Parade in order to bring all these cases into court to seek justice.

The LGBTI organizations, the Pride Committee, and the activists will have a meeting today in Istanbul at 18:00 to discuss about the situation and how to proceed.

Couple of international allies organizing demos today in front of Turkish Embassies and Consulates (Berlin, Stockholm, etc.), also.

There has also been online hate speech and targeting campaign against some of the participants whose photos are in circulation in the internet. The videos and photos of 3 trans women who protested (or just felt like) being naked are in circulation, yet. There has been some horrible calls from both within the trans community and others to execute these people. The movement is also trying to calm all these aggressions, right now.

News links of international media: https://news.vice.com/article/turkish-police-use-water-cannons-rubber-bullets-and-tear-gas-on-gay-pride-parade
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/06/28/istanbul-gay-pride-police_n_7681324.html?1435522822

A video by a random citizen where people try to celebrate Pride in side streets escaping from police brutality: https://vimeo.com/132080319

Press Statement By LGBTI Pride Week Committee

Despite opposition, European Parliament votes for LGBTI rights in EU Gender equality strategy

In a landmark vote, the European Parliament has demanded to include LGBTI rights in a future EU gender equality strategy.

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The current strategy for equality between women and men runs out at the end of this year. The report voted yesterday, is the Parliament’s input for the gender equality strategy 2016-2020.

Specifically on LGBTI issues, the parliament

  • Asks to ensure the full legal recognition of a person’s preferred gender, which is vital for trans and intersex persons (par. 24) and to work towards full depathologisation of trans identities, including in childhood (par. 55);
  • Demands an inclusive definition of families, including families with LGBT parents in labour and family law (par. 31);
  • Calls on the Commission to tackle prejudice against LGBTI persons in schools (par. 61)
  • Furthermore, the Parliament reiterates its call to adopt a separate strategy on LGBTI rights. It also calls on the Council to adopt a Directive that would outlaw discrimination on the basis of inter alia sexual orientation, in education, social protection and access to goods and services (par. 2).

Ulrike Lunacek MEP, Co-President of the Intergroup on LGBTI Rights, commented: “The message of the Parliament is clear: It is time for the Commission to take leadership on gender equality and LGBTI rights.”

“The attempt by EPP and ECR to delete all LGBTI content shows just how out of touch they have become with today’s society. Thankfully, the Parliament rejected their attempts, and voted in favour of the original report.”

All LGBTI content was threatened by an alternative resolution as well as numerous split and separate votes, demanded by the conservative and right-wing groups EPP and ECR.

Maria Noichl MEP, author of the report and Member of the LGBTI Intergroup, added: “Misogyny, homophobia and transphobia are still widespread in Europe, and there is a lot that the EU still needs to do to make equality a reality.”

“I am very glad that the Parliament affirmed its full commitment to gender equality and LGBTI rights. It is now up to the Commission to ensure that the final strategy reflects this progressive input.”

IDAHOT/B 2015 marked in Belgrade

To mark the International day against homophobia, transphobia and biphobia (IDAHOT/B), on Sunday, May 17th, a rainbow flag together with a trans rights flag were dropped from the Ombudsman’s building in Belgrade


In this symbolic way, people of different sexual orientations and gender identities were shown support and attention was drawn to the problems these people have to live with on day to day basis.

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Photo: RTS

 

Besides Gordana Stevanović, Ombudsman’s deputy, members of the Gender equality council were also present, and representatives of Gayten-LGBT and Labris, Milan Đurić and Jovanka Todorović respectively. Afterwards, Ombudsman’s deputy headed to Students’ park to an IDAHOT queer picnic, organized by Gayten-LGBT and Labris, also in order to mark this year’s IDAHOT day.
The event was well attended – it is estimated that around 80 to 90 people came. Flags were put up around the park, there was music and refreshments. The event was guarded by police forces and there were no incidents during, before or after the event.

In Serbia, LGBTQIA people are still not sufficiently and adequately protected, although recently huge steps have been undertaken to protect and improve their position, such as the making of the strategic documents containing actual measures dedicated to the improvement of LGBTQIA people’s lives. Before-mentioned organisations take part in these processes.

The International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia (also IDAHO, IDAHOT, or IDAHOBiT) is observed on May 17 and aims to coordinate international events that raise awareness of LGBTQIA rights violations and stimulate interest in LGBTQIA rights work worldwide. IDAHO’s date was chosen to commemorate the decision to remove homosexuality from the International Classification of Diseases of the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1990.

Gayten

Coalition Against Discrimination Annual Award Ceremony

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Award ceremony of annual prizes to individuals who contributed to development of culture of tolerance and struggle against discrimination in Serbia in 2014 will be held on Tuesday, 21st April 2015 at Media Centre Belgrade (Terazije Street, number 3, I floor), begining with 10:00 hours


The award is assigned by the Coalition Against Discrimination, whose members include Center for Advanced Legal Studies, Civil Rights Defenders, LABRIS-Organisation for lesbian human rights, Network of the Committees for Human Rights in Serbia – CHRIS, The Association of Students with Disabilities, Gayten LGBT, Praxis and Regional Centre for Minorities.

The awards are assigned annually to persons, institutions or organisations with outstanding contribution in defending, advocating and promoting the culture of human rights and equality in Serbia. The awards include five categories: public authorities, civil society, media, business sector and public persona.

The Coalition members agree that, despite a succesful and peaceful Pride 2014, Serbia still has a lot of work ahead in building an open and tolerant society, based on principles of constitutional democracy.

We invite all media, civil society organisations and individuals, especially our award winners from previous years, to join us on the ceremony and make the event more festive.

Lithuanian MP Warns LGBT* Human Rights Defenders about “Massacre [as] in Paris”

On January 18th, 2015 the Member of the Lithuanian Parliament Algirdas Vaclovas Patackas publicly warned the Board Chair of the national LGBT* human rights association LGL that the organization is “playing with fire” and that its activities might result in a “black, repulsive and totally unacceptable response” similar to that which “happened in Paris.” The statement by the MP was issued as a response to the organization’s humour-based suggestion to store 10-litas notes as LGBT* souvenirs


A.-Patackas-356x210In the message, initially published by the right-wing news portal alkas.lt, the MP accused the LGL’s Board Chair Vladimir Simonko of “provocation” that might result in “dead bodies”. “For black, repulsive and totally unacceptable challenge-provocation you might face no less than black, repulsive and totally unacceptable response. Because in Lithuania, as in every land which calls itself Christian, not everyone turns the left cheek; there are many, who believe in the principle “an eye for an eye”, i.e. the main cause of what has happened in Paris” – warned the MP. As a result, the MP Patackas urged the Board Chair of the national LGBT* organization to “cancel the provocation”.

LGL has immediately approached the national law enforcement officials with the request to investigate comprehensively the truthfulness of the alleged threats to the organization. According to the LGL’s Board Chair Vladimir Simonko, the news were highly disturbing. “Despite the fact that this message is directed to me as the head of the organization, all staff members view this message with great unease. If these allegations are real, we place our trust in the national authorities. If this is some sort of a “joke”, I believe that the MP Patackas has very poor sense of humour, which is totally unacceptable in the light of recent tragic events in France,” – said Mr. Simonko. LGL is of the position that in case the MP Patackas has any information about planned attacks against the organization or its staff members, he must share this information with the law enforcement officials immediately.

The MP Patackas is the author of the controversial draft amendment to the Lithuanian Criminal Code, removing criminal liability for homophobic hate speech. The proposed amendment states that the “criticism of sexual behavior or sexual practices, convictions or beliefs, or persuasion to change this behavior, practices, convictions or believes cannot be per se qualified as harassment, humiliation, incitement to hatred, discrimination or incitement to discriminate.” On December 16th, 2014 the draft bill was returned to its drafter for the improvement.

Thereby the translation of the full message by the MP Patackas is provided in English.

“A. Patackas. A warning to citizen Simonko

An announcement appeared in the press that LGBT and his leader, that is Simonko, intends to distribute ten litas banknotes with a playful note that Darius and Girėnas are gay. If two men standing next to each other seem to appear to be gay, there is a name for it – paranoia. „LNK“ television also spoke about this intention in an overly playful, supposedly indignant tone, and mocked exasperated Gražulis, but not the author of this provocation. This piece of news, however is not playful, it threatens with no less miserable consequences as the recent massacre in Paris. Everything there also began in a playful manner but ended with dead bodies, because words hurt like a knife.

Will there be another attempt to “expand the boundaries of freedom of speech“? We say in advance – it will fail. Lithuania is not France where in the Parisian Bastille and the communes the heads of Marie Antoinette and Robespierre Marije were chopped, many priests were killed, nuns were desecrated, and where the secularist state recently revealed its black side. Lithuania was not all that (except Carine and Soviet periods, but the occupants did it). Lithuania has its heroes, noble men to respect by every normal Lithuanian for their deed and especially for their testament for young Lithuania that will remain of eternal value.

This is why citizen Simonko must be warned – stop, it is neither witty nor playful – you are playing with fire. For black, repulsive and totally unacceptable challenge-provocation you might face no less than black, repulsive and totally unacceptable response. Because in Lithuania, as in every land which calls itself Christian, not everyone turns the left cheek; there are many, who believe in the principle “an eye for an eye”, i.e. the main cause of what has happened in Paris. (emphasized by author) And hardly anyone in Lithuania would bear an inscription “I am Simonko“. Fight to satiety for your colored rights – every citizen is entitled for it by democracy – but in a civilized, non-provocative way.

And still, who are you, citizen Simonko, to dare to make fun of a fellow citizen, his sacredness and values? Who taught you and what values were instilled by your family? You live in Lithuania, but you speak Lithuanian with an accent, apparently you first heard of Darius and Girėnas when their images appeared on the litas. But you are a citizen of Lithuania, so you must always act responsibly and civilly.

So, wishing namely citizenship based on common sense, but insisting to cancel the provocation, disrespectfully – the author.”

Source: LGL

Draft Amendment XXXIII to the Constitution of Macedonia – Protection of Marriage or Limitation of the Right to Private and Family Life?

With this letter, BABELNOR Network calls on the international community and ask for public reactions that would prevent the constitutional definition of marriage and civil unions exclusively as unions between one woman and one man


The Government of the Republic of Macedonia has proposed changes to the Constitution
including Amendment 33 which defines marriage and civil unions, but also any other
form of registered life partnership, exclusively as a union between one man and one
woman.
Below is the text of Amendment 33 that regulates marriage, civil unions and any
other registered form of life partnership:

AMENDMENT XXXIII

1. Marriage shall be a life union solely of one woman and one man.
2. A civil union, or any other registered form of life partnership, shall be a life union
solely between one woman and one man.

macedonia_changesinlow

On the 7th of July 2014, seven proposed constitutional amendments, including the
Amendment XXXIII that was meant to provide for a ‘clearer definition’ of marriage as a
union between one man and one woman entered into Parliamentary debate along with the
other proposed constitutional amendments. These amendments, however, contained only
the definition of marriage as a union between one man and one woman. The definition of
civil union as a union between one man and one woman was not included in the proposal
but was nonetheless included in the draft amendments, which was a flagrant violation of
the procedure for constitutional changes and an audacious abuse of the decision of the
Parliament to proceed with the originally proposed constitutional amendments. On the
27th of August 2014, the seven draft amendments were passed in national Parliament and
there, the proposed Amendment XXXIII contained definitions of civil unions, or any
other registered forms of life partnership
as life unions solely between one woman and
one man.

Therefore, we are writing you to express our concerns regarding the draft constitutional
amendments in Macedonia which include the definition of marriage and civil unions
exclusively as unions between one man and one woman. We are deeply concerned about
LGBTI rights in Macedonia for there are numerous instances of human rights violations
and absence of effective protection and persecution by the state authorities. Therefore we believe that this change will only enhance discrimination, violence, and hate speech
toward the LGBTI community. The exclusive constitutional definition of marriage,
civil unions, and any other form of registered partnership is discriminatory toward
LGBTI people by restricting their right to family life and all the civil and social
rights arising from it.

The contemporary international jurisprudence has already taken a position on this issue.
In the case of Schalk and Kopf v. Austria (No. 30141/04, ECHR 2010), European Court
for Human Rights stated that the relationship of a cohabiting same-sex couple living in a
stable de facto partnership is falls into the category of ‘family life’, just as would be the
case with different-sex couples in a comparable situation. In the case Vallianatos and
others v. Greece
(29381/09 and 32684/09), the court ruled that the legislative exclusion
of registered civil same-sex partnerships presents a violation of Article 14 (Prohibition of
discrimination) taken in conjunction with Article 8 (Right to respect for private and
family life). In its Opinion on the Fourth Amendment of the Fundamental Law
(Constitution) of Hungary, from 14-15 June 2013, the Venice Commission clearly stated
that a formulation with similar restrictions to family life was not aligned with Article 8 of
the European Convention on Human Rights, calling upon the reasoning provided in
Schalk and Kopf v. Austria (see above). In other words, the state is truly completely free
to define marriage as a form of union and the forming of a family (Art.12, ECHR), but as
soon as it begins granting other rights and privileges inherent to marriage to de-facto
partnerships that cannot be considered as ‘married’ under national laws (registered
partnerships), then and sexual orientation and gender identity of such individuals must
not be an obstacle to the exercise of those rights.

If this effort of the Macedonian Government gets voted by the national Parliament and
incorporated into the national Constitution, it will create precedence in European law on
restricting the right of family life through the use of Constitutional mechanisms. This
presents a danger to the development of human rights in Europe, because it is a model
that can easily be later applied in other national contexts. To be more specific, the
constitutional restriction of international human rights standards is not regulated equally
among states in Europe. Those countries that claim supremacy of domestic constitutional
law over international law can impose constitutional restrictions that are not aligned with
international human rights law and standards, and in the same time are superior in the national legal system. In return, this can make the reaction of the International
community much more difficult and much less fruitful.

We call for and encourage all our international friends, human rights and democracy
advocates to demand from the Macedonian Parliament, President and Government not to
support Amendment 33 of the constitutional changes. Also, we call for and encourage all
our partners to inform their respective Governments of the violations that this
Amendment can impose on the right to family life, and the consequences it can have in
other national contexts.


Labris is a member of Babelnor – network for LGBTQ*-youth


LGBTI children have the right to safety and equality

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) children are often victims of bullying and violence in schools, at home and via social media. This has a serious effect on their well-being and prevents openness about their personal identity. Like all children, LGBTI children are entitled to enjoy human rights and require a safe environment in order to participate fully in society.

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Responses to bullying

According to a survey carried out by the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), at least 60%  of LGBT respondents had personally experienced negative comments or conduct at school because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. 80% had witnessed negative comments or conduct as a result of a schoolmate being perceived as LGBT. Given the frequency of negative behaviour directed at LGBT students, it is not surprising that the survey also found that two out of three LGBT children hid their LGBT identity while at school.

This situation is unacceptable. It puts a heavy burden on LGBTI children, many of whom are at high risk of suicidal behaviour. According to an Irish study, over half of LGBT respondents aged 25 or younger had given serious consideration to ending their lives. It is clear that bullying affects LGBTI children’s educational achievement and impedes their right to education without discrimination, in addition to their right to enjoy the highest attainable standard of health.

School should be a safe environment for all students. The European Court of Human Rights has made it clear that homophobic speech in educational settings is not protected by the European Convention’s guarantees of free expression. Confronting homophobic and transphobic intimidation requires continuous and focused attention from schools and educational authorities. UNESCO and the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Youth and Student Organisation (IGLYO) have provided detailed guidance on effective responses. Ireland has introduced legal requirements and a mandatory policy for addressing homophobic and transphobic bullying in schools, along with a concrete action plan.

Right to information

Children have the right to receive factual information about sexuality and gender diversity. Anti-bullying efforts should be supported by education on equality, gender and sexuality. The UN Special Rapporteur on the right to education has highlighted children’s right to comprehensive sexual education without discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. It is necessary to question stereotypes about gender and sexuality in schools. The European Committee of Social Rights has found a violation of the European Social Charter with reference to teaching materials which were “manifestly biased, discriminatory and demeaning, notably in how persons of non-heterosexual orientation are described and depicted”.

The protection of children is sometimes evoked as an argument to block the availability of information about LGBTI people to children. The Venice Commission has stressed that such arguments fail to pass the essential necessity and proportionality tests required by the European Court. There is no evidence that dissemination of information advocating a positive attitude towards LGBTI people would adversely affect children. Rather, it is in the best interests of children to be informed about sexuality and gender diversity.

Family and homelessness

Many LGBTI children experience prejudice and violence within their own families. The acceptance of LGBTI children is still difficult for many parents and other family members. The FRA survey found out that 35 per cent of young adults were not open about being LGBT within their family.  In Montenegro, I visited a shelter and a social centre for LGBTI persons where I met young people who had been rejected by their families and forced to leave their homes. The NGO running the facility was engaged in mediating between the families and LGBTI persons, and had achieved family reconciliation in some cases.

When they are forced to leave their families, young LGBTI people are at high risk of becoming homeless.Research from the UK suggests that up to 25% of homeless youth are LGBT. The current economic crisismakes it even harder for homeless young people to find a job and shelter. When LGBTI youth cannot rely on the support of their families, the result can be long-term marginalisation with a high cost to individual health and well-being. The Albert Kennedy Trust in the UK runs both temporary shelters and more permanent accommodation options for young LGBTI persons along with social and vocational support. Municipal and state-funded services for homeless people should also strive to welcome homeless LGBTI youth.

Right to self-determination

Trans and intersex children encounter specific obstacles when exercising their right to self-determination. As minors, trans adolescents can find it difficult to access trans-specific health and support services whileintersex children are often subjected to irreversible “normalising” treatments soon after birth without their consent. The legal recognition of trans and intersex children’s sex or gender remains a huge hurdle in most countries. Children are rights-holders and they must be listened to in decision-making that concerns them. Sex or gender assigning treatment should be based on fully informed consent.

LGBTI children share many common problems. In their “Vision for 2020, trans and intersex youth in Finland gave high priority to the right to grow up in a safe environment, as well as the right to information. They also stressed “the right to a legally secured life as an equal member of society” and called for inclusive equal treatment legislation.

Empowerment and protection

This vision for the future should be today’s reality. Governments already have a duty to empower and protect LGBTI children. Respect for children’s views and the protection of the best interests of the child are clearly laid out in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Human rights apply equally to LGBTI children without discrimination.

LGBTI children should be able to exercise their participatory rights in all areas of life. Access to information is a basic condition enabling participation and decision-making. At the same time, LGBTI children must be protected from violence and bullying at home, in schools, on the internet, in sports and in public spaces. Child protection services, children’s ombudspersons and the police should make particular efforts to include LGBTI children in their outreach. Governments need to take systematic action to improve the safety and equality of LGBTI children.

Nils Muižnieks

 via coe.int

Serbia Holds Its First Peaceful Gay Pride March in More Than a Decade

Serbia hosted a gay pride march Sunday, the first peaceful pro-LGBT demonstration in the country in more than a decade


The march through Belgrade, the nation’s capital, was held under heavy police security to prevent a repeat of the violence that marred a 2010 demonstration in which hundreds of people were injured.

An estimated 1,000 gay activists and their supporters carried rainbow flags and signs — some bearing the message “Pride. Normally.” — while marching along eerily empty streets with anti-riot police units positioned on almost every corner. The gathering was patrolled by several thousand policemen, who blocked off central streets and avenues throughout Belgrade.

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After the unrest in 2010, Serbian authorities banned pride marches, citing security risks and the threat of violence by far-right groups and ultra-nationalists. Only minor scuffles were reported this year and a group of 50 hooligans stoned a police cordon set up to prevent them from approaching the demonstrators. A local photographer was slightly injured during the scuffle. Another group threw firebombs at a local television broadcaster, slightly injuring two policemen.

Police choppers equipped with cameras flew above the area, and a number of businesses, including a McDonald’s restaurant, pulled down their shutters to avoid a repeat of the damage that resulted when riots broke out during Serbia’s 2010 pride parade. Belgrade police said 50 people were brought in for questioning before and during the march.

“This is just a start,” said Goran Miletic, one of the organizers of the march. “Next year, we will have less policemen, and less every year, until we will all walk free, with no need for such security.”

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Marija, 25-year-old student, came with her best friend to “show that not only gays support the pride.”

“I hope that next time, even more people — gay or straight — will come out to show that we are all equal,” Marija said.

Local media reported that members of special anti-riot police unit beat a brother of Serbian conservative Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic and two members of his security team as they tried to pass through a cordon despite warnings.

Speaking to reporters after the march, Vucic said he was “personally sad” about the incident, but refused to elaborate.

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Vucic said Sunday that “there must be no violence during the pride as Serbia respects its laws and constitution.”

“No one is allowed to jeopardize the others, no one should use violence against anyone else and the state’s job is to prevent it,” Vucic told reporters ahead of the march.

A number of foreign diplomats attended the parade, including the EU delegation chief Michael Davenport. For the first time ever, several Serbian ministers and the mayor of Belgrade joined the march.

“For the first time, the [government] institutions have publicly supported the organization of the pride and media reports were more favorable for the LGBT community,” one of the organizers, Boban Stojanovic, told reporters Saturday.

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On Saturday, the ultra-nationalist far-right group Dveri organized an anti-gay counter-march in central Belgrade. No major incidents were reported during the protest, which lasted several hours and was heavily secured by the police.

The head of the influential Serbian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Irinej, spoke up against the gay pride, saying it was “immoral” and “violently imposed by a gay lobby and their mentors from (western) Europe.”

via VICE from Serbia

Common Resolution Against Violence and Hate Crimes

A German friend and participant of our conference “The future belongs to us: LGBT rights on the road to the European Union” was attacked and seriously injured the night between the two conference days. The attack left him in life threatening condition


A German friend and participant of our conference “The future belongs to us: LGBT rights on the road to the European Union” was attacked and seriously injured the night between the two conference days. The attack left him in life threatening condition.

The organizers Labris and Hirschfeld-Eddy Foundation along with co-organizers Civil Rights Defenders and YUCOM decided to change today’s conference programme to focus on moving forward after such an event.

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We decided to organize a protest march in the streets of Belgrade at noon against intolerance, hate crime and violence against minorities, since the attack is speculated to have been xenophobic.

We call upon all human rights, anti-discrimination, civil society organizations, and all people of good will to build a strong alliance against hate crime, violence and any kind of minority related hostilities such as the attack witnessed in the early hours today. This incident echoes back to the unfortunate case of Brice Taton in 2009. Further, we ask that the Serbian state act against the perpetrators of this attack and to speak out against xenophobia, homophobia, and other prejudices that plague Serbian society. The rule of law cannot be sidelined when such things occur, especially from extremists such as nationalist and hooligans.

Today was violence against one group and tomorrow it will be to another, and so on. We all, whether LGBT, Roma, religious minority, disabled, or from other discriminated groups, experience the same violence, hate speech and hate crimes and we have to stand together to protect ourselves and to cooperate for a brighter future where all people can live as free and equal citizens.

Every human being has to ask themselves in which society they want to live: In a society where some people have more rights than others or in a society where everyone has the same rights, the same chances and the same level of protection against violence?

The way a society deals with its minorities is a litmus test for its level of democracy, liberty and openness. We all have to be constantly cautious and attentive to make sure that the freedom, the rights and the liberties we have fought for are not attacked, taken away and replaced by intolerance, repression and violence.

Our thoughts and best wishes are with the victim of the attack, and we hope for his speedy recovery and well being. The participants of the conference “The future belongs to us. LGBT rights on the road to the European Union”

Belgrade, 13 September 2014