Statements

Coalition demands response of the competent authorities to attacks on LGBT social center in Podgorica

Statement

STEP Coalition, that consists of eight NGOs from Serbia, Kosovo and Montenegro, calls on the authorities to use all available resources to respond to attacks and demolition of LGBT Social Centre in the evening 19th December 2014, the only social and cultural gathering center of LGBT community in Montenegro.

This is not the only one attack on LGBT Social Center. Within a year of its existence, this is the 25. attack on this center, and what is alarming is that the police have not shed light nor prosecuted any of these attacks. Last demolition was particularly disappointing because it was done again in the presence of the police since the security of this facility is being conducted by the same. The failure of the police and the state as a whole to stop and prosecute these attacks sends a message of fear to again invisible and frightened community and members of the LGBT population are already exhausted to ensure regular functioning and increases their regular expenses. This area is the only environment in which cultural, artistic, scientific, entertainment and social lives of the Montenegrin LGBT community occurs.

CONDEMNATION OF NEW TREATS TO GSA ACTIVISTS

Coalition for Equality STEP strongly condemns new death threats against activists of the Gay Straight Alliance and supports this organization in the application to the Ministry of Interior and every other relevant state institutions and authorities to immediately find the perpetrators of this crime and bring them to justice.

Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) had informed the public on the 1st of April with the announcement about the repeated received death threats, this time via organization email. The latest death threats to GSA are the most brutal so far and they represent explicit calls for the killing and slaughtering of members of GSA, and “cleansing” Serbia of such organization.

STEP and GSA invite state and its institutions to clearly show the intention in efficiently devoting to systematic sanctions for threats and violence and protecting human rights defenders in Serbia.

The attitude of the Coalition for Equality STEP: Position of women far away from society of equal opportunities

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Podgorica – The position of women in Montenegro is still far from declarative commitment of decision-makers on achieving gender equality and a society of equal opportunities for both genders, assessed the Coalition for Equality STEP.

Representation and status of women in the social spheres of decision-making remains unsatisfactory. Of particular concern is access of decision makers, who very slow and unwillingly makes and implement the decisions when it comes to improving position of women and implementation of equality policies – it was announced from Centre for Civic Education, which is part of a coalition.

From these NGO’s, they are reminded that a group of Montenegrin NGO’s suggested that the new Law on the Election of Councillors and Representatives include a provision that would make every third place on the list went to the woman, which, they say, allow through the principle of mandate distribution in order of candidates from the electoral list in the parliamentary benches enter higher number of women.

Announcement: Political underrepresentation of women remains a problem in Montenegro

Statement

Coalition for Equality STEP, on the occasion of celebration of the 8 March, points out a fact that position of women in Montenegrin society is still far from declarative commitment of decision-makers on achieving gender equality and society of equal opportunities for both sexes.

Representation and status of women in social spheres in which decisions are being made remains unsatisfactory. It is of particular concern the approach of decision makers, who very slowly and reluctantly make and implement decisions when it comes to the improvement of status of women and implementation of equality policies.

Namely, although they constitute a majority of population of Montenegro, women are still underrepresented in decision-making places. The recent negative vote on amendments to the Law on Election of Councillors and Members of the Parliament, and rejection of amendments that were intended to improve position of women in political decision-making is only the most recent evidence of unwillingness of society to transpose the equality as a principle of gender relations from legal norms into reality.

Verdict was rached in the case of a physical attack in Novi Sad

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Before the High Court in Novi Sad 13/11/2013. the public verdict accused S.S., which was found guilty of the criminal offense of Violent behavior and attempted murder.

The First instance court upheld the requirements of the Higher Public Prosecutor’s Office and the defendant was sentenced to a term of imprisonment of seven years – six years for attempted murder and one for violent behavior.

During sentencing, the court as an aggravating circumstance appreciates the fact that the attack was carried out in the full city bus transport, and damaged his actions did not cause the execution of these works. It also rejected the allegations of the defense that the defendant was in a state of mental incompetence due to abuse of alcohol and psychoactive substances, given that the defendant was fully reconstructed event. The fact that the defendant committed the offense because of perceived sexual orientation of damaged court didn’t valued as a special aggravating circumstance, given that the attack took place before the introduction of the institute of hate crimes in the system of legal protection

The State must ensure the right to freedom of expression and assembly

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The Coalition for Equality STEP, welcomes the preparations for a Pride Parade in Podgorica, which is announced for the 20th of October , and calls upon Montenegrin institutions to provide the necessary support in order to make this event safe for all its participants. The relevant institutions must provide not only rhetorical support but must enable, in full capacity, the maintenance of a peaceful Pride, which primarily means ensuring the safety of the organizers and participants of Pride. Having in mind the positive experience regarding the dedication and professional attitude of police in providing safety during Sea Side Pride, held in July this year in Budva, we expect that their actions will be the same in the case of Pride in Podgorica.

Gay Pride was held in Budva, but there is still a lot to be done to promote equal rights for all citizens

Coalition for Equality STEP logo

Coalition for Equality STEP, comprised of eight NGOs from, Serbia, Montenegro and Kosovo, strongly condemns acts of physical violence committed by groups formed in order to sabotage the first Montenegrin Gay Pride parade “Sea Side Pride” held on 24th of July 2013 in Budva, which was held in an atmosphere of hate speech directed towards