European Parliament reviews progress on LGBTI rights Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Today the European Parliament adopted four of its annual reports for candidate and potential candidate EU countries. MEPs have assessed the rights of LGBTI people, and recommended the countries to improve the situation.

(Potential) accession states in the Western BalkansIn its report on Montenegro, the Parliament welcomes that authorities protected and facilitated Montenegro Pride, which was held without any incident. It notes, however, that LGBTI people still face hostility and violence and calls for awareness-raising to change public attitudes.

Furthermore, the report calls for training to police, prosecutors and judges to deal with LGBTI-phobia.

In relation to Macedonia, the Parliament calls on the authorities to complete its anti-discrimination law in line with EU standards, as it currently leaves out a prohibition on discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation. It further condemns all violence against LGBTI people, and calls for the perpetrators to be brought to justice.

In October a group of hooligans vandalised a bar where the LGBT Support Centre celebrated its second anniversary.

In its report on Serbia, MEPs commend the Serbian government for their support of the Belgrade Pride, which took place in September 2014 without major incidents after it had been banned since 2011. 

The Parliament welcomes progress made in Kosovo regarding  the establishment of the Advisory and Coordination Group for the Rights of the LGBT Community.  It further welcomes the first LGBTI Parade, which took place on 17 May 2014.

However, it expresses its concern over threats and attacks against LGBTI human rights defenders and calls on authorities to raise awareness on anti-discrimination legislation which includes sexual orientation and gender identity.

Ulrike Lunacek MEP, Co-President of the Intergroup on LGBTI Rights, rapporteur on Kosovo and shadow-rapporteur on Montenegro, reacted: “I am concerned that hostility and violence against the LGBTI community remain problematic for all four countries.”

“Equal rights for all, including LGBTI people, is an important hallmark of a mature, inclusive, democratic and tolerant society. However, I am glad to see many (potential) candidate countries are constructively working to ensure human rights for LGBTI people, in line with European values.”

Tanja Fajon MEP, Vice-President of the Intergroup on LGBTI Rights and shadow rapporteur on Serbia, added:  “Today’s vote by a large majority shows strong support for the Balkan’s European future, which will include full respect for human rights of LGBTI people.”

“I am glad that colleagues across the political spectrum have shown that the EU takes its human rights commitment seriously, and included strong wording on the rights of LGBTI people.”

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Image credit: © Turkish Weekly

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