Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Attack on the LGBT Center in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

We received the following press release condeming an attack on the LGBT Centre in Skopje and calling on the Interior Ministry to find and prosecute those who attacked the center and to protect LGBT persons, calling upon the Prime Minister and President to condemn the attack, and calling upon media to report accurately.

Coalition 'Sexual and Health Rights of Marginalized Communities' - Skopje
LGBT United - Tetovo
Helsinki Committee for Human Rights of the Republic of Macedonia

PRESS RELEASE
STOP THE HATE VIOLENCE TOWARDS LGBT PEOPLE

We strongly condemn the hate violence that occurred in front of the 
monument "A Warrior on a Horse" and the demolition of the LGBT Centre in 
the Old Bazaar (during a projection of a film and the forum for the rights 
of transgender people) and the hate speech that provokes violence and 
discrimination.

We demand that the Ministry of Interior most urgently identify and arrest 
the criminal offenders who assaulted a person in the Centre of Skopje, who 
yet again demolished the LGBT Centre in the Old Bazaar, who attacked and 
injured a police officer while on duty, and who spread and continue to 
spread threats and hate speech that provokes violence and discrimination 
on the ground of sexual orientation and gender identity. Unfortunately, in 
spite of the undertaken preventive measurements by the Ministry of
Interior, serious criminal acts were committed (violence on the Square, 
violence towards the LGBT Centre and the activists inside it, an attack of 
a police officer) for which there are numerous indications to have been 
criminal acts committed out of hatred on the ground of sexual orientation 
and gender identity.

Even though this is not the first attack of the LGBT Centre, it is the 
first one committed in the presence of people and during an event, hence 
it is our opinion that the intolerance towards the LGBT community is 
increasing. As a result, we call upon the Public Prosecutor's Office to 
finally recognize the criminal acts committed out of hate towards people's 
characteristics, therefore we demand that the criminal offenders be found 
and prosecuted for violence caused from discrimination on the ground of 
sexual orientation and gender identity of people. We demand that the 
decisions of the European Court of Human Rights be finally applied, 
wherein it is stated that "sexual orientation as a fundamental 
characteristic of a person, should be treated in the same manner as the 
categories race, ethnicity and religion, which are most often covered by 
laws for sanctioning hate speech and hate crimes." It is our opinion that 
with this the LGBT Community shall receive the protection and support from 
the institutions whose obligations is to protect the rights of all
citizens and shall prevent such violence from occurring again in the 
future.

We would like to remind the public that as early as 21.06.2012, the 
Coalition and the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights reported to the 
police that publicly "open violence is encouraged towards LGBT people" and 
that "we expect from the Ministry of Interior to undertake the necessary 
measurements for protection against violence, discrimination and spread of 
hate on the ground of sexual orientation and gender identity and to 
provide peaceful and undisturbed proceeding of the planned activities 
within the "Pride Week".

We call upon the Prime Minister and the President of the Republic of 
Macedonia to condemn such violence, because LGBT people are also citizens 
of the Republic of Macedonia and should be respected and protected as the 
rest of the citizens of this state.

We demand from the leaders of the political parties, as well as the 
religious communities to condemn the violence towards the LGBT people and 
the human rights activists and to disassociate themselves from the
hooligans and the neo-Nazi groups who publicly encourage violence and 
discrimination.

We demand that the Government and the Members of Parliament prepare 
amendments to the laws in order to criminally punish hate speech on the 
ground of sexual orientation and gender identity and to foresee more 
severe punishments for acts committed due to hate towards sexual 
orientation and gender identity.

We make an appeal to the media and the journalists to stop spreading 
misinformation (for instance the misinformation regarding the "Gay
Pride"), to refrain themselves from spreading negative stereotypes and 
prejudices regarding LGBT people and from publishing contents that
encourage violence and discrimination on any ground.

We call upon the civil and intellectual public of the Republic of 
Macedonia to condemn most strenuously the violence towards the LGBT people 
(who were attacked by masked hooligans during a tribune in the LGBT 
centre), as well as the extremists groups (from neo-Nazis, masked 
hooligans to religious fanatics) who have begun to ravage publicly in the 
centre of Skopje.

Once more, we demand from the Ministry of Interior to undertake the 
necessary measures for protection of the LGBT people and human rights 
activists against violence, discrimination and spread of hatred on the 
ground of sexual orientation and gender identity, and to provide peaceful 
and undisturbed proceeding of the other planned activities within the 
"Pride Week."

Skopje 23.06.2013

(mew) (h/t rw)

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/international_law/2013/06/macedonia.html

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