Serbia and Kosovo need to step up efforts to guarantee the rights of LGBT people, Parliament says

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, and recommended the two countries improve the situation.

Enlargement countriesIn its report on Serbia, the European Parliament “strongly condemns the authorities’ decision to ban the planned September 2013 Belgrade Pride Parade as in the previous two years”, and urges authorities to respect the freedom of assembly of LGBTI people.

The Parliament also calls on Serbian authorities to step up efforts against violent hooligan groups threatening and attacking LGBTI people.

The report further calls for wider political support for LGBTI people’s human rights, and for the country to implement its Anti-Discrimination Strategy.

In its report on Kosovo, the Parliament expressed its concern over persistent discrimination, including on the basis of sexual orientation. It called for a comprehensive national anti-discrimination strategy to guarantee equality in effect.

Lastly, it recalled the homophobic violent attack on Kosovo 2.0, for issuing a magazine on sex and sexuality, and urged for perpetrators to be prosecuted.

The two reports were adopted with overwhelming majorities.

Jelko Kacin MEP, Member of the Intergroup on LGBT rights and Rapporteur on Serbia, reacted: “Slowly but steadily, equal rights are progressing in Serbia and Kosovo, but more efforts are needed to effectively guarantee the rule of law and ensure the human rights of the LGBTI minority.”

“I am particularly concerned that the anti-discrimination law isn’t implemented very well, and that Belgrade Pride was banned yet again last September.”

Ulrike Lunacek MEP, Co-President of the LGBT Intergroup and Rapporteur on Kosovo, continued: “Respect for the rights of LGBTI people is an important hallmark of an inclusive and tolerant society. The principle of non-discrimination embedded in Kosovo’s constitution needs to be filled with relevant laws and implementation strategies in order to improve the lives of LGBTI people in the country.”

“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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