Violence against LGBT community must be sanctioned more severe

Centre for Civic Education (CCE) condemns a new case of violence against members of the LGBT community, which took place two nights ago in the centre of Podgorica, when two persons were attacked and suffered minor injuries due to their assumed sexual orientation, and calls on competent state authorities to make immediate and effective reaction.

It is particularly concerning that there is a growing tendency of hate crimes, while competent institutions generally remain silent regarding it, rather than to resolutely condemn, properly investigate these cases and severely sanction perpetrators. These examples call into question painstakingly achieved results so far in affirmation of LGBT rights, and a genuine commitment of the state to promote tolerance and punish violence. It has been demonstrated once again that authorities keep high on their agenda the issue of protection of LGBT community, as well as many vulnerable groups, just as long as it brings concrete political advantage.

It is also important that non-governmental organizations, which have been promoters of tolerance so far, continue with their efforts so that not even one of our citizens, regardless of personal characteristics, would suffer discrimination or violence due to some of their differences, and to reduce the scope for government manipulation of human rights, because it carries unforeseeable consequences for society as a whole.

In this regard, it is certainly cautionary the recently released State Department’s Report on Human Rights in Montenegro, which as a second major problem in Montenegro identifies exactly the societal discrimination and violence against minorities, including the LGBT community amongst the first.

The police, prosecution and courts must begin to apply the law indiscriminately, as well as to deal with special care with cases of hate crimes for which perpetrators must be more severely punished, in order to strengthen trust of the LGBT community in their work.

Tamara Milaš, Programme Associate