MEPs take stock of LGBT rights in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia and Montenegro

Today, the European Parliament adopted three of itsĀ annual reports on the EU accession process for Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia,Ā and Montenegro. Last month, MEPs already examined the situation in Serbia and Kosovo.
In its report on Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Parliament emphasises the need for an anti-discrimination strategy and for the implementation of anti-discrimination laws and policies. Furthermore,Ā the Parliament calls on the authoritiesĀ to investigate and publicly condemn the homophobic attack on Ā participants at the Merlinka Film Festival in Sarajevo, which took place on 1 February.

In relation toĀ Macedonia, MEPsĀ welcomed the work done by the Anti-Discrimination Commission on homophobic school books. However, it reiterates the need forĀ anti-discrimination legislation to beĀ brought in line with EU law, and calls on political and societalĀ leaders to condemn homophobic and transphobic violence.

The LGBTI Centre in Skopje suffered from multiple violent attacks over the past year.

The government of Montenegro was commended for its efforts in creating a strategy for enhancing the quality of life of LGBTI people, and for its support of Pride marches in Budva and Podgorica. But MEPs did highlight the need to educate the wider public about accepting LGBTI people.

The report also called on authorities to fully investigate homophobic violence, and prosecute criminal offences in a timely manner.

Richard Howitt MEP, author of the report on MacedoniaĀ and Member of the LGBT Intergroup, reacted: ā€œIt is unacceptable that LGBTI people still face violence, simply for beingĀ who they are.Ā I call upon national leaders to condemn this violenceĀ in the strongest possible terms, and encourage the full inclusion of LGBTI people.ā€

Ulrike Lunacek MEP, Co-President of the LGBT Intergroup, added: ā€œI am happy to see positive developments in Montenegro and Macedonia, but we cannot set aside the continuousĀ large-scale discrimination and violence against LGBTI peopleĀ in these countries.ā€

ā€œWe’ll remain vigilant, and keepĀ addressing the homophobic and transphobic climateĀ as an inherent part of the EU accession process.ā€

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Image credit: Ā© European Union