Labris – Lesbian Human Rights Organization presented the Annual report on the position of LGBTTIQ population in Serbia for 2012
Topic of the panel – Proposed draft Law on registered same-sex partnerships and work of state institutions on LGBT rights
On July 3, 2013, Labris – Lesbian Human Rights Organization, presented the Annual Report on the most important developments within the LGBT community, as well as on Labris’ activities in the previous year. The Annual Report was presented in the premises of the Republican Ombudsman. Members of human rights organizations, other LGBT organizations, representatives of the embassies as well as representatives of independent institutions attended the presentation.
There were a large number of representatives of the printed and electronic media.
Speakers at the panel were:
- Borjana Peruničić – Office for Human and Minority rights, Government of the Republic of Serbia
- Tamara Lukšić- Orlandić – Republican Ombudsman Office
- Nevena Petrušić – Commissioner for the Protection of Equality
- Mladen Antonijević- Priljeva – Forum for Ethnic Relations
- Jovanka Todorovic – Labris Lesbian Human Rights Organization
Labris coordinator, Jovanka Todorovic, stated that this is the most comprehensive Labris Annual report so far, which bring us to the conclusion that 2012 was filled with both positive negative tendencies. Starting with the positive trends, as one of the most important and historical, she underlined three verdicts for discrimination or hate speech against LGBT people: Final verdict of the Court of Appeals in the City of Novi Sad which confirmed discriminatory behavior and severe discrimination against M.A. (25) from City of Vršac committed by his colleague Dario K. (26) (when he found out about the same-sex orientation of his colleague M.A.) that lasted continuously for several months at the workplace in a private company in Vršac where both men worked; Final verdict of the First Basic Court in Belgrade, which determined discriminatory behavior and severe form of discrimination against LGBT population by Nebojsa Bakarec, official of the conservative Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS) and councilor in the Belgrade City Assembly, that prohibits him to repeat the discriminatory behavior; and finally – Second instance verdict of the Court of Appeals in Belgrade for the case against the daily newspaper “Press” d.o.o, for permitting and facilitating readers’ comments published on July, 2nd 2009. at the Internet site “Press Online” that were full of hate speech against LGBT population.
She commended the decision of the Ministry of Justice and Public Administration to include article 54a regarding hate crime in the Law on Amendments and Addendums of the Criminal Code which includes hate crime as an aggravating circumstance for the criminal act committed due to the hatred based on, among other characteristics, other person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
As for the negative trends she mentioned the third ban of the Pride parade and attacks on the LGBT people.
Borjana Peruničić (Office for Human and Minority Rights) underlined that this institution is highly devoted to LGBT human rights and she mentioned all projects that Office has on their agenda, aiming to improve the legal position of LGBT people, including the important project with Council of Europe -“Combating discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity”. She introduced the “Strategy for prevention and protection from discrimination” adopted on June 27, 2013 that includes 9 vulnerable and discriminated groups in Serbia and she announced the Action plan for the Strategy that will be presented soon.
Tamara Lukšić- Orlandić, Deputy Ombudsperson, spoke about the lack of commitment and dedication of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development, to make the school textbooks more adequate in representing LGBT population. She condemned the catastrophic results of the research conducted by the Commissioner for the Protection of Equality, Labris, YUCOM, Belgrade Center for Human Rights, that all have shown extremely low acceptance of any kind of diversity among young people in Serbia.
As a positive example, she noted that Croatia has prepared curriculums for the subjects Sciences and Humanities, Biology and Psychology, related to the respect for diversity, including sexual orientation and non-discrimination. Lukšić-Orlandić spoke about the proposal sent to the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development regarding banning of the discrimination based on sexual orientation (Article 44 Law on Education) underlining that the time has come to change the textbooks and adjust the program that will not support stereotypes that contribute to intolerance among students.
Nevena Petrušić, Commissioner for the Protection of Equality, commended Labris Annual Report and she stated that Institution clearly supported every Pride attempt. She also used the opportunity to inform the audience about the work and responsibilities of the Office and about complaints that are currently being addressed. Petrušić said that attitudes of young people (that are full of nationalism and homophobia) should be surprising, bearing in mind the fact that the Ministry of Justice did not respond to the recommendations that had been made by their Office, for two years.
Mladen Antonijević Priljeva from the Forum for Ethnic Relations revealed the human side of the proposed draft Law on registered same-sex partnerships. To understand this in the context of contemporary changes, we should remember the key events that occurred in the past decade, and which are of particular importance for understanding the reality of the growing international consensus to respect and protect the rights of LGBT people.
First, it should be noted that the regional (Council of Europe) and Universal (UN) documents in the field of human rights, completely cover LGBT people and that any differentiation based solely on sexual orientation, is exclusively prohibited. This point is conclusively confirmed in the Yogyakarta Principles, when a group of leading legal experts gathered and produced “Guidelines for the Application of Standards of the International Human Rights Law in Relation to Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity.”
Antonijević-Priljeva mentioned that in 2011 UN Commissioner for Human Rights published first global report on the status of LGBT people where he found the horrific human rights abuses ranging from simple forms of discrimination, through torture and deprivation of liberty, and all the arbitrary deprivation of life. The report illustrates well the real situation of LGBT people and gives a clear answer to the question of who, when and how violates the rights of LGBT people.
The proposed draft Law on registered same-sex partnerships protects against domestic violence, provides the possibility of mutual support, of common acquisition and distribution of property, inheritance rights, tax benefits, rights in the event of illness, as well as the right to social, health and pension insurance. It is clear that this bill has nothing to do with marriage or children or conflicts with the “so-called traditional values”.
Draft Law is deeply human because it neutralizes a legal vacuum in this area and provides a sense of security in this area for LGBT people, and amortizies resistance of certain social groups towards LGBT people.