Coalition STEP invites for support for the Pride in Podgorica

Podgorica, Belgrade, Priština – 28 October 2014

Coalition for Equality STEP, on the occasion of the Pride that is scheduled for 2 November 2014 in Podgorica, invites all citizens, primarily persons who have influence on public opinion, to refrain themselves from spreading hate speech and instigating atmosphere of lynch and violence against LGBT people.

We are all witnesses that language of intolerance, in some respect, has produced effects in the form of physical assault on a member of the LGBT Forum Progres, which took place in Tivat a few days ago. We strongly condemn any form of violence against LGBT persons and urge the competent authorities to bring to justice abusers who have physically attacked the activist of LGBT Forum Progress and punish them in accordance with the law and thus send the message that violence shall not be tolerated.

Furthermore, we also consider utterly inappropriate statements of certain public figures that we could read in the media in recent days, wherein they disdain importance of the fight for human rights of LGBT persons, calling the Pride “a movement for violent reconfiguration of cosmos and parade of death.” These are dangerous and incendiary messages in a society which is, unfortunately, still in majority deprived of a sense of empathy and solidarity for LGBT people.

Human rights movements, and the movement for LGBT rights among them, represent a legitimate and legal movement of citizens who want to fight against discrimination to provide a dignified and happy life to which they have right, while at the same time contributing to realization of a true freedom that can ensure to Montenegrin society only progress and sustainability.

It is entirely understandable that we all have a right to different opinion on LGBT rights, manners, and need to fight for their improvement, but we must be aware of our responsibility to comply with existing laws in relation to respect the right of others to selfidentification, and not to spread hate speech, intolerance and not to do violence against anyone on the basis of personal characteristics. We remind that the prohibition of discrimination is a constitutional category, further elaborated in series of laws of the state of Montenegro, and that hate speech and physical violence caused by hatred based on sexual orientation are criminal offenses and we call on competent authorities to treat them as such.

We also invite educational authorities to stop ignoring topics related to human rights of LGBT persons, and to incorporate scientific facts about homosexuality into the curriculum and textbook content, and thereby contribute to the understanding and development of spirit of tolerance towards LGBT persons through the education and training system.

In order to understand needs of LGBT persons and their fight for free exercise of human rights, with deepest respect for the right of all to different opinions, we invite citizens that in these days before the announced Pride Parade everyone considers for themselves whether they would be ready to accept to be happy in a few square meters, between four walls, 365 days a year ina a manner as many people,, most generously “offer to LGBT persons as a recipe for a safe and fulfilling life? We believe that this kind of self-examination would be rather healing and helpful in understanding the purpose of conducting the Pride.

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

On behalf of STEP,

Petar Đukanovi, Programme Coordinator
Centre for Civic Education (CCE)