The Coalition for Equality STEP, which gathers eight NGOs from Serbia, Kosovo and Montenegro, invites the authorities to use all available resources in providing support for the “Belgrade Pride”, scheduled to take place on 28 September 2013 in Belgrade, and this way to show that they protect the rights of all citizens equally.
The Pride Parade is an important step towards better social inclusion of LGBT persons. Securing a successful achievement of the “Belgrade Pride” will enable the realization of the right to freedom of assembly, which is guaranteed by the Constitution of the Republic of Serbia, the Public Assembly Act and many international conventions.
For two years in a row, organizers of the Pride Parade in Belgrade are facing the failure of state institutions in overcoming security challenges and threats caused by extremist and right-wing organizations, and the denial of the constitutionally guaranteed right to freedom of assembly. STEP reminds that the Belgrade Pride Parade was held in 2010, despite a few incidents. The first Sea Side Pride took place in Budva this year, and Pride parades in Croatia are being successfully held for a number of years and the last ones with no incidents.
For all these reasons, the Coalition for Equality STEP provides full support to the organization of the “Belgrade Pride” because it is an important event for the improvement of the status of LGBT community members but also for the efforts of Serbia in achieving full democratic development and improving human rights. The coalition STEP hopes that the competent institutions will enable organisation of the “Belgrade Pride” and ensure the safety of all its participants. Besides state institutions, we invite citizens, in a spirit of tolerance, to provide support and help improvement of the position of those whose rights are violated.
Representatives of non-governmental organizations from the Coalition STEP will be present at the “Belgrade Pride”. At the regional meeting on 27 September the Coalition for Equality STEP will establish a Judicial Monitoring Network with the aim to network non-governmental organizations in the region involved in the fight against discrimination. Members of this newly formed network of NGOs from Serbia, Montenegro and Kosovo will all join the “Belgrade Pride” and, this way, give support to the citizens of Serbia in enforcing their right to freedom of assembly.
This statement is signed by the member organizations of the Coalition for Equality STEP: Lawyers’ Committee for Human Rights (YUCOM), Belgrade Centre for Human Rights, The Network of Committees for Human Rights in Serbia (CHRIS), Humanitarian Law Center Kosovo, Youth Initiative for Human Rights Kosovo, Centre for Civic Education and LGBT Forum Progress from Montenegro.
On behalf of STEP,
Milan Antonijević, director of YUCOM