Serbian Foreign Minister met with representatives of the organization Labris and the Commissioner for Protection of Equality and apologized for committing acts of discrimination
Serbia’s Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic has met on Saturday, February 21, with representatives of Labris, Jovanka Todorovic and Dragana Todorovic, in the Office of the Commissioner for Protection of Equality and apologized for his earlier statements which were qualified by the Commissioner for Protection of Equality, Nevena Petrusic, as discriminatory, upsetting and humiliating. At that time Minister Dacic was the Prime Minister of Serbia.
Labris representatives have discussed the consequences of discriminatory statements with the Minister Dacic (one of which was that homosexuality is “not normal and not natural”) from September 23, 2013, which he made before the Pride Parade, which was scheduled to take place in Belgrade on September 28, and was ultimately banned for alleged security reasons.
Apart from this, the discussion was focused on everyday problems of LGBT persons, which are, according to numerous surveys, are one of the most discriminated social groups in Serbia.
Minister Dacic has expressed remorse for his statements, agreed with representatives of Labris that discrimination against LGBT persons is unacceptable and expressed willingness to intensify cooperation with Labris in implementing international normative standards for the respect and promotion of human rights of LGBT persons, and in particular in implementing Council of Europe Recommendations.
“I am sorry that my statements sounded as an insult to the LGBT population. I had no intention of offending anyone,” Dacic told media reporters on Saturday, February 21, after the meeting with representatives of Labris.
Together with 14 organizations and 11 individuals, Labris has filed a complaint to the Commissioner for Protection of Equality who ascertained that the dignity of LGBT individuals has been violated, and recommended Minister Dacic to invite a Labris representatives to a meeting.
In 2013 Minister Dacic has said that members of the LGBT population are equal with other citizens and that one should not go to the other extreme and ingratiate oneself with them. “I feel no hatred towards them. I just cannot accept that that is normal, because that is not natural,” Dacic said, posing the question: “Should I become gay so that this be pro-European?”
This is the first time since the adoption of the Law on Prohibition of Discrimination in 2009, that the perpetrator of discrimination met with the complainant, which is a big step forward towards the development of a culture of dialogue and respect for human rights in Serbia.