Labris, one of the oldest lesbian human rights organizations in the region (founded in Belgrade in 1995) is an organization that considers the right to different sexual orientation as one of the basic human rights. Our mission is to work on the elimination of all forms of violence and discrimination against lesbians and all women in general and to establish a more equal society. Our vision is a society without hate, fear, with rule of law, society where sexual and gender minorities would have equal rights as majority. Our values are tolerance, solidarity, nondiscrimination, equality and dignity for all minorities.
Labris has three main program areas within which we are working on empowering LGBTI people.
1) Within The Information Center, we organize educational and psychological workshops and support groups; we organize informal social gatherings as well as meetings with prominent lesbians from around the world. In addition, we offer a large number of books, brochures and videos about LGBTI rights, identities and experiences, and particularly about “coming out”. All these activities are organized with the aim to empower LGBTI people, particularly lesbians, and help them accept their identity, live more comfortably within their private and professional surroundings, and to recognize and report discrimination.
2) Within The Education Program, we organize different kinds of workshops in order to sensitize various relevant stakeholders. Mostly, we conduct workshops for health workers, social workers, Professors, students, journalists, ombudspersons, in order to make them more sensitive and aware about LGBTI rights and identities, discrimination and everyday experiences of sexual and gender minorities.
3) Within The Lobbying and Advocacy Program we advocate at national and European level (using the documented evidence of discrimination) for improved legal protection and social acceptance of LGBTIQ people. Among other things, Labris took part in writing the Anti-discrimination Law and has lobbied intensively for its adoption. Labris has also prepared the Draft Law on Registered Same-sex Partnerships. In addition, we put the Amendment to the Criminal code (article 60) that discriminates against LGBTIQ people and we have managed to successfully lobby for hate crime to be introduced to the Criminal Code, which happened in December, 2012. Labris has also been a part of a working group for development of the Strategy for Prevention and Protection from Discrimination, which was adopted in June, 2013 and Labris is currently involved in consultation processes regarding the development of the national Action Plan for Prevention and Protection from Discrimination. In addition, Labris is currently formulating amendments for Law on Freedom of Assembly and continuously monitoring court cases. Within this program, Labris also offers legal consultations.
Since its foundation, Labris has conducted more than 70 projects.
Vision: Labris aims for a society of diversity with all equal rights, in which all the persons regardless of their sexual orientation, identity and other diverseness would live with dignity and complete protection and affirmation of their human rights.
Labris is accomplishing its vision through several parallel and interrelated courses of action:
1. Strengthening LBT population to carry its identity with pride and competently oppose the right violations and advocate for respect of their rights through:
a) Program of legal and psychosocial (professional) support to the members of LBT population
b) Program of peer support to the members of LGBT population
c) Program of support to the families and friends of LBT population.
2. Reducing homophobia by raising awareness and informing young people, women and the general public on LGBT Human Rights through:
a) Organizing public actions and media campaigns to reduce homophobia
b) Cooperation with the media in informing the public on the most important legislation for improvement of the position of LBT population
c) Creating and realization of education program for high-school students on LBT population rights.
3. Promotion of legislation relevant to the life of LGBT population and strengthening the influence on decision makers and authority representatives through:
a) Lobbying government and non-government organizations to support the bill on same-sex partnership and other changes/additions to the law
b) Monitoring of the work of institutions and proposing mechanisms for improved application of existing laws relevant to the life of LGBT.
4. Sensibilization and education of institutions and authority representatives on applying of existing rights of LGBT population through:
a) Printing and distribution of guide-books, collections of good practice guides and guidelines with instructions for work with LGBT population
b) Accreditation and implementation of professional specialization programs for the employees in health, social care and education institutions and completing the program of professional specialization of employees in health, social care and education institutions
c) Training program for employees in media, police, prosecution and judiciary