Condemnation of new treats to GSA activists

Coalition for Equality STEP strongly condemns new death threats against activists of the Gay Straight Alliance and supports this organization in the application to the Ministry of Interior and every other relevant state institutions and authorities to immediately find the perpetrators of this crime and bring them to justice.

Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) had informed the public on the 1 April with the announcement about the repeated received death threats, this time via organization email. The latest death threats to GSA are the most brutal so far and they represent explicit calls for the killing and slaughtering of members of GSA, and “cleansing” Serbia of such organization.

These threatening messages had also invited members of the Serbian Radical Party (SRP) and the extreme right-wing movements ’Obraz’ and ’Nasi’ to “take knifes in their hand and start slaughtering members of the Gay Straight Alliance”. Further in messages they are calling for cleansing of Serbia of the “gay organization” and that members of GSA should be “killed mercilessly”. Also, in messages, the president of the Alliance was insulted and they called for his assassination. Both messages are ending with the words, “Happy slaughtering” and signed – one with “Mladen Obradovic” and another with “Ratko Mladic”. In their statement Alliance claimed that they have previously received messages which usually offended LGBT population via email or social networks, but points out that they have never before got such brutal and explicit death threats.

Coalition for Equality STEP and GSA remind that this organization was sent death threats via its helpline twenty days ago, which also happened for the first time since the organization exists. Independent institutions for the protection of human rights reacted to these threats. However, according to the information GSA obtained this case is still in the prosecutor’s office and it hasn’t been forwarded to the police for solving, which is being “justified” with new Criminal Procedure Code and with it’s slowness, so chances for solving this case are now negligibly small.

GSA takes the latest death threats very seriously. Since the Alliance deals with the sensitive field and has years of experience, as well as dealing with various security challenges, there is no doubt that the organization has become someone’s target in the last few weeks. No matter who stands behind this and there are various possibilities, GSA invites all competent authorities to take this situation very seriously and immediately react and use every legal possibility to protect GSA activists and other human rights defenders and to avoid much more negative consequences.

The lynch atmosphere recreates in Serbia by threat to Women in Black organization and new lists of “traitors” made by right-wing organization ’Nasi’. Giving that fact, STEP and GSA consider it necessary for government institutions, non-governmental sector and international organizations to make maximum effort and to help society in which we live to become more tolerant. This way the violence in society can finally be sanctioned and those who commit violence and threats can adequately be punished.

STEP and GSA invite state and its institutions to clearly show the intention in efficiently devoting to systematic sanctions for threats and violence and protecting human rights defenders in Serbia.

Coalition for Equality STEP consists of the Lawyers’ Committee for Human Rights – YUCOM, Belgrade Center for Human Rights, the Network of Committees for Human Rights in Serbia CHRIS and Gay Straight Alliance GSA (from Serbia); Humanitarian Law Center Kosovo and the Kosovo Youth Initiative for Human Rights (from Kosovo); Centre for Civic Education (CCE) and LGBT Forum Progress (from Montenegro).

Those who join statement:

Human Rights House Belgrade:
Policy Center
Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia
Belgrade Center for Human Rights
Civic Initiatives
Gayten – LGBT
Gay and Lesbian Info Center
Independent Journalists Association of Vojvodina
Belgrade Fund for Political Excellence
Centre for Civic Education
Alternative Centre for Girls
NGO Sandstone
Fund for Open Society
Novi Sad Humanitarian Center
Dah Theatre
Women’s Studies Center “Mileva Maric Ajnstajn” Novi Sad
Cultural Park
Museum of Non-Violence
Women’s Studies Center, Belgrade
Vesna Pesic
Radmila Lazic
Svenka Savic
Lepa Mladjenovic
Dragan Jovanovic
Biljana Stojkovic

On behalf of STEP,

Milan Antonijević, director of YUCOM