Over 25 Attacks on LGBT Social Centre Since 2013

Civil Rights Defenders condemns the latest series of attacks perpetrated against the LGBT Social Centre in Podgoricia, Montenegro, which occurred between 19-20 December. The attacks began when a group of men threw rocks causing damage to the centre but there were no reports of injuries.

Civil Rights Defenders demands that the Police immediately apprehend the perpetrators and that the Prosecutors Office and the judiciary ensure that they are brought to justice for this act of hooliganism against the LGBT community in Podgorica.

Although the Police are responsible for securing the LGBT Social Centre for a fixed time period (between 8 PM and midnight) it was later established through video surveillance that the police officer on duty vacated the premises  at 11.25pm before the attacks took place leaving the Centre vulnerable and unprotected.

This is not the first time that the social centre has witnessed such acts of violence. Since 2013 when it first open its doors to the LGBT community a total of 25 attacks against the centre have occurred. In response, Civil Rights Defenders partner LGBT Forum Progress who runs the Centre suspended the Memorandum of Understanding with the Police Directorate until further notice. The Memorandum signed in 2011 resulted in wide ranging cooperation with police and the LGBT community concerning human rights and discrimination.

The memorandum has also served as a basis for the publication of expert material used in police departments in order to create a greater understanding of the LGBT community. Furthermore the memorandum has been pivotal in the formation of structured and functional bodies such as the Team of Trust which resulted in the establishment of LGBT contact police officers in every municipality in Montenegro

“The authorities have been ineffective in ensuring that marginalised groups are respected but more importantly protected. Montenegro is a signatory of the European Convention of Human Rights and therefore must protect all of its citizens from violence and discrimination, especially those marginalised groups who are more often exposed to hate crime and discrimination. We expect the authorities to do their jobs by apprehending each of the persons involved and bringing them to justice” said Goran Miletic, Programme Director for the Western Balkans at Civil Rights Defenders.

For further information regarding our partner LGBT Forum Progress please click on this link.

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