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Amnesty Urgent Actions
Startseite Urgent Actions 2011 08 Belgrade pride must go ahead
UA 253/11
Serbia
Abgeschlossen am 1. September 2011

Belgrade pride must go ahead

AI-Index: EUR 70/014/2011

Amnesty International is concerned that the rights of LBGT people to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly may not be respected by the Serbian government.

The organisers of Belgrade Pride have announced their intention to organise the Pride for September. They have asked the Serbian Ministry of Interior and other relevant ministries for their cooperation in ensuring that the event takes place. The Minister of Interior, Ivica Dačić, has publicly expressed concerns about the security risks associated with the Pride, and has requested the support of the Serbian Government including the President and Belgrade’s Mayor and Assembly.

This is the fourth time that Pride has been planned in Belgrade. In 2010, police protected participants against violent counter-demonstrators and more than 100 people, mostly police, were injured. The damage to the property in the City was estimated to more than €1 million. In 2009, the Pride march had also been scheduled for September but did not take place after the authorities refused to provide security at the last moment following threats from far-right groups.

Amnesty International welcomed the actions taken by the Ministry of Interior and by the Belgrade police in particular, in guaranteeing the right to freedom of expression of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) groups and individuals during Belgrade Pride in 2010. Amnesty International calls on the authorities to ensure the same guarantees are put in place during this year’s pride.

Additional Information

Through first-hand experience as Amnesty International participated in the Belgrade Pride, the organization is well aware of the tremendous problems faced in 2010 by the authorities, and in particular the Ministry of Interior in 2010 in addressing the extreme security challenges posed by the threats from and actions of right wing groups, which – even with the deployment of 5,000 police - turned what should have been a celebratory event into some of the worst violence seen in Belgrade in recent years. Few of those responsible for the violence or for issuing threats to the organizers and supporters of the Pride have been brought to justice.

Belgrade’s Mayor already refused to support the Pride saying that the event is a risk for “property, members of gay population, the police and citizens of Belgrade”.

The Mayor of Jagodina, a city in central Serbia, whose party is part of the coalition government, has repeatedly called members of gay population ill, stated that homosexuality is contrary to Serbian religious and family values and asked for the Pride not to take place. In addition, members of right-wing extremist groups have called for the Pride to be banned and announced that they will take action to prevent Pride from taking place.

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