European Parliament calls on Kosovo and Serbia to step up efforts on LGBTI rights
Today, the European Parliament adopted two of its annual progress reports for candidate and potential candidate EU countries. MEPs have assessed the rights of LGBTI people in Serbia and Kosovo, and recommended the countries to improve the situation.
Discrimination, hate speech and hate crime against LGBTI people, remain a strong concern for the Parliament in both countries. In this regard, the Parliament stresses its concern that the processing and investigation of such cases remains insufficient.
In its report on Serbia, the European Parliament “welcomes the successful Pride March of 20 September 2015.”
It expresses its concern, however, over shortcomings in implementation of the country’s anti-discrimination framework, particularly referring to LGBTI people.
In relation to Kosovo, the Parliament welcomes the adoption the Law on Protection from Discrimination, which includes sexual orientation and gender identity. If welcomes, furthermore, that the Ombudsperson has been mandated to act as an equality body.
Ulrike Lunacek MEP, Co-President of the Intergroup on LGBTI Rights and rapporteur on Kosovo, reacted: “Despite progress in laws and visibility in Serbia and Kosovo, discrimination and violence continue to make lives of LGBTI people difficult, and threaten access to basic freedoms.”
“Leading politicians should show more courage to condemn hatred and prevent abuse. Both countries have the necessary laws in place. Now it’s time to implement them!”
Tanja Fajon MEP, Vice-President of the Intergroup on LGBTI Rights and shadow rapporteur on Serbia, continued: “I am glad that the Parliament has again agreed that human rights, including for LGBTI people, are at the heart of the European integration project.”
“Hatred and prejudice have kept too many people in the Balkans from full participation in society for far too long. It’s time for equal rights for all.”