Amnesty International and ILGA-Europe today issued a message of support to the 2012 Belgrade Pride, which begins with a week of cultural and political meetings and activities culminating in a Pride march on 6 October and ends the following day.
Amnesty International and ILGA-Europe also urge the Serbian authorities to fully support the Pride march, and to guarantee the rights to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly to all lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) people in Serbia.
Amnesty International and ILGA-Europe are concerned that again this year, just a few days before the march is due to be held, the organisers have not yet received full commitment by the Serbian Government to ensure the march’s security and protection of the participants.
Amnesty International and ILGA-Europe note that the 2011 Belgrade Pride march was banned on grounds of security threats reportedly from extremist groups. However, few of those who made such threats were identified, and few prosecutions have resulted.
The organisations acknowledge the authorities’ concerns that there may be threats of violence against the event this year, but urge the relevant officials not to ban the Pride march again. Amnesty International and ILGA-Europe note that such threats contravene Serbia’s laws and constitution, and remind the authorities of their international obligations to guarantee freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression, which includes provision of adequate security conditions.
Amnesty International and ILGA-Europe are committed to supporting Pride events in countries where the freedom of expression and of assembly of LGBTI people is threatened or violated. The prohibition of a Pride march violates Serbia’s obligations to guarantee these rights to its LGBTI community. Amnesty International and ILGA-Europe also fear that the prohibition of the Pride march would give a green light to those who seek to deny the rights of LGBTI people, and undermines their right to non-discrimination.
Amnesty International and ILGA-Europe urge the Serbian Government to ensure that the Belgrade Pride march takes place unhindered and with adequate protection as requested by the organisers, and in accordance with regulations on public demonstrations.
Amnesty International and ILGA-Europe also urge the authorities to ensure that any planned attacks or threats of attacks made by individuals or groups against the Pride’s organisers or LGBTI people are immediately and thoroughly investigated, and the perpetrators brought to justice.