Serbia: Break Up of First Gay Pride Parade

The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) forwards this urgent action from the International Lesbian and Gay Association-Europe (ILGA-Europe).

FORWARDED ACTION

ILGA-Europe: Urgent call for action: break up of Serbia's first Gay pride parade - please forward to your national activists e-mail list

Dear friends,

On Saturday Serbia's first Gay pride parade was savagely broken up by soccer hooligans and nationalists thugs. For a photographic report, visit http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/europe/newsid_1415000/1415789.stm

It seems clear that despite advanced warning that the parade would be attacked, Belgrade's police took inadequate measures to protect the safety of participants and to ensure their freedom of association and expression.

ILGA-Europe is protesting to the Serbian authorities, and will be taking up the matter with the European Commission, which pledged •530 million of aid to Yugoslavia at the 29th June Brussels Donor Conference. This aid is conditional upon compliance with generally recognised standards of human and minority rights.

ILGA-EUROPE IS ALSO CALLING ON ITS MEMBER ORGANISATIONS AND LGBT ACTIVISTSTHROUGHOUT EUROPE TO SUPPORT SERBIA's LGBT HUMAN RIGHTS MOVEMENT BY:

  1. Protesting to the Serbian Minister of the Interior
  2. Drawing these events to the attention of their Foreign Ministry, and requesting that they make clear to the Serbian authorities that protection of its LGBT minority is a part of the general human rights conditions agreed as part of the June 29th Brussels Donors' Conference. Countries in Europe which pledged financial support to Yugoslavia at this Conference were: Austria, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. The USA, Canada and Japan were also amongst the donors.

SAMPLE LETTERS

Suggested letters are as follows. Please translate them into your own language, and amend as appropriate to your circumstances:

LETTER TO THE SERBIAN MINISTER OF THE INTERIOR

Mr. Dusan Mihajlovic
Minister for Interior Affairs
Vlada Srbije
Nemanjina 11
11000 Beograd
Yugoslavia

Dear Mr Mihajlovic,

We are writing to you to express our grave concern at the failure of the Serbian authorities to provide adequate protection for the safety of participants in the 30th June gay pride parade in Belgrade and to ensure their freedom of association and freedom of expression.

We request that you take immediate steps to put in place the necessary policies to ensure that these human rights violations are not repeated, and that Serbia's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered citizens are able to enjoy their full human rights without fear of violence and discrimination.

We ask further that this process start by the opening of a cooperative dialogue between yourself and the representatives of Serbia's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered community, with a view to your government taking wide measures in support of a minority which is the subject of extensive discrimination.

We understand that, at the international donor conference in Brussels on 29th June, the Serbian government gave certain undertakings with regard to human rights and the protection of minorities. We believe that the failure to provide adequate protection for the Belgrade gay pride parade amounts to the breach of these conditions. Accordingly, we will be drawing the attention of the relevant officials at our Foreign Ministry to the failure of the Serbian authorities to protect the gay pride parade, and will be requesting that they take up this matter with you.

We welcome warmly the progress which Serbia has made towards becoming a democracy in recent months, but must stress that this will not be achieved until the human rights of ALL its citizens, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered persons, are fully respected and protected.


LETTER TO YOUR FOREIGN MINISTER

(for those countries which pledged aid in the 29th June Donor Conference)

Dear ,

Failure of Serbian authorities to protect participants in Belgrade gay pride parade

We are writing to ask that you make representations to the Serbian authorities over their failure to protect the safety and to guarantee the freedom of association of participants in Belgrade's June 30th Gay Pride Parade.

Serbia's first gay pride parade was to have taken place on June 30th. However, as participants assembled, they were savagely attacked and driven away by soccer hooligans and nationalists thugs. A number of participants in the parade were injured.

It seems clear that, despite advanced warning that the parade would be attacked, Belgrade's police took inadequate measures to protect the safety of participants and to ensure their freedom of association and expression.

These events followed immediately on the 29 June Brussels Donor Conference, at which some EUR 1.5 billion of aid was pledged to Yugoslavia, conditional upon compliance with generally respected standards of human and minority rights.

We believe that the failure of the Serbian authorities to provide protection for the participants in the gay pride parade is a serious breach of this condition. We therefore ask that you, as the Foreign Minister of one of the countries which pledged aid, make representations to the Serbian authorities over the need to guarantee the fundamental rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered minority, and to provide full and proper protection from violence and discrimination for this minority.

We thank you in advance for your support in this matter,