Safe and Secure Freedom of Assembly Must be Guaranteed at Belgrade Pride

Civil Rights Defenders demands that the government of Serbia puts all measures in place to ensure a safe and secure Belgrade Pride March which is scheduled to take place on September 18. Freedom of peaceful assembly must be secured for all citizens of Serbia regardless of their personal attributes and to guarantee peoples’ fundamental human rights

Belgrade Pride Week 2016 which began on 12 September includes a variety of cultural, debate and community-oriented events, which will take place at several locations throughout the Serbian capital. The International Pride Forum will take place on Saturday, September 17 at the Media Centre Belgrade and will gather representatives from international, foreign and local organisations as well as LGBT and human rights activists from all over the Western Balkans.

“In 2014 and 2015 Pride took place without any incidents or cases of violence towards the participants and we expect that this year will not be any different. We hope that less police protection will be needed during Pride 2016 and that authorities in Serbia will show that human rights standards are implemented without discrimination. Several prominent public figures will join March for the first time and this is another step forward” said Goran Miletic, Programme Director for the Western Balkans at Civil Rights Defenders.

Belgrade Pride March was banned in 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2013, allegedly due to security reasons. In 2010, the March was followed by an outbreak of violence by extreme right-wing groups. After the last minute ban in 2013, LGBT activists organised a Midnight Pride March, which took place one day before Pride March was scheduled.

Civil Rights Defenders will be present on Belgrade Pride with a full-day international conference on bullying “Safe School for All” scheduled for Friday, 16 September, which will be explore the possibilities for the adoption of anti-bullying legislation in Serbia. Guests from 20 countries will participate in this conference.

Tomorrow kicking off at 21.00pm, Civil Rights Defenders will organise an exhibition of photos made by Serbian photographers Vesna Lalic and Dragan Kujundzic. The exhibition entitled “The Invisible Ones” explores the life of transexual Roma in Serbia. The opening of the exhibition will take place at Stab Gallery (Crnogorska 10).

The International Pride Forum which is the last event prior to Pride March, will be held on Saturday, 17 September at the Media Centre Belgrade (Terazije 3) from 10:00am-18:00pm. The Forum gathers relevant speakers from the international community, representatives of international, foreign and Serbian organisations and activists from the Western Balkans.

We look forward to your support and hope to see you in Belgrade

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