PUBLIC ANNOUNCEMENT - STOP HATE-MOTIVATED VIOLENCE AGAINST LGBTI PEOPLE
We most strongly condemn the hate-motivated violence in front of the monument “Warrior on a horse”, the violent hooligan actions and demolition of the LGBTI Centre in the Old Bazaar (while a film projection was held on the right of trans people) and hate speech which provoked violence and discrimination.
We demand that the Ministry of Internal Affairs locates and arrests the criminal perpetrators which brutally beat a person in the centre of Skopje, which once again demolished the LGBTI Centre in the Old Bazaar, which attacked and injured a police officer on duty, and which continued spreading threats and hate speech which provokes violence and discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity.
Unfortunately, even despite the preventive measures taken by the Ministry of Internal Affairs, serious crimes have been committed (violence of the square, violence against the LGBTI Centre and the activists there, assault against officers), regarding which there are indications that they are hate crimes, committed on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity.
Even though this is not the first attack of the LGBTI Centre, it is the first time that an attack occurs in the presence of people, during an event, due to which we believe that the intolerance toward the LGBTI community is increasing. Due to this, we call upon the public prosecution to finally recognize hate crimes on the grounds of personal traits, and we demand that the perpetrators are found and persecuted for violence caused by discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. We demand that the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights are finally applied, clearly stating that “sexual orientation, as a fundamental trait of a person, should be treated in the same manner as the categories of race, ethnicity and religion, which are most frequently covered by laws for sanctioning hate speech and hate crimes”. We believe that this is a way for the LGBTI community to finally receive protection and support by the institutions which should protect the rights of all citizens, and take preventive measures so that such violence does not reoccur in the future.
We remind the public that on 21.06.2013, the Coalition and the Helsinki Committee for human rights have reported to the police authorities that “open violence toward LGBT people is being encouraged” and that “We expect the Ministry of Internal Affairs to take all necessary measures for protection against violence, discrimination and spreading hate on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity, and to provide conditions for a peaceful and unobstructed performance of planned activities within the “Pride Week”.”
We call upon the Prime Minister and the President of the Republic of Macedonia to condemn this violence, due to the fact that LGBTI people are also citizens of the Republic of Macedonia and therefore they should be respected and protected as all other citizens of this country.
We demand that the leaders of the political parties and religious communities to publicly condemn violence toward LGBT people and human rights activists and to refrain themselves from alignment with the hooligans and neo-Nazi groups which publicly called for violence and discrimination.
We demand that the Government and the members of Parliament to prepare legal amendments which shall criminalize hate speech on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity and which shall impose more strict punishments for hate crimes on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity.
We call upon the media and journalists to stop spreading misinformation (such as misinformation regarding the “Gay parade”) and to refrain themselves from spreading negative stereotypes and prejudice toward LGBT people, as well as from publishing articles which provoke violence and discrimination on any grounds.
We call upon the civil and intellectual public in the Republic of Macedonia to most strictly condemn the violence against the LGBT activists (which were attacked by masked hooligans while holding a debate in the LGBTI Centre) as well as extremist grounds (neo-Nazi, masked hooligans and religious fanatics) which started committing openly violent actions in the centre of Skopje.
We once again demand that the Ministry of Internal Affairs to take all necessary measures for protection against violence, discrimination and spreading hate on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity, and to provide conditions for a peaceful and unobstructed performance of planned activities within the “Pride Week”.
LGBTI Support Center
Helsinki Committee for Human Rights of the Republic of Macedonia