Annual Review 2011
Bias motivated violence
- The number of incidents of discrimination and violence towards LGBT people that were reported to the police, prosecutors, Ombudsman and NGOs increased, although several cases seem to remain unreported due to a lack of sensibility to the topic at the institutional levels.
- In May, Juventas held an IDAHO event Love is the attitude followed by a concert. The event was attended by around 600 people, including members of the LGBT community, friends and supporters many of whom came with their families and/or children. During the concert, unidentified people tried to disrupt the event by throwing a tear gas petard into the crowd. By the end of 2011, the police investigation was ongoing having yielded no results.
- After the incident at the concert, two people from the LGBT community were attacked by fi ve assailants in the centre of Podgorica. According to the victims, the police officers refused to allow them to report the attack and file criminal charges, telling them it could be done the next day.
- Five cases of domestic violence (psychological and physical) perpetrated by family members against LGBT people were documented by NGOs in 2011. This represents an increase of reported cases on previous years.
- In August, at least two incidents were not reported to the police. One involving a trans woman who was beaten up by three young men in the south of Montenegro. The other case involved two lesbians from Serbia who were beaten up by a group of men in Herceg Novi. In both cases the victims neither reported the incidents to the police, nor sought medical help for fear of victimisation.
Equality and non-discrimination
The European Parliament adopted a Resolution on Montenegro’s progress towards joining the European Union (B7-0157/2011) in which it welcomed the new anti- iscrimination legislation in the spheres of employment and public services but criticised the ongoing discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity, including on the part of the authorities. Ulrike Lunacek MEP, Co-President of the European Parliament’s Intergroup on LGBT Rights, called on the Minister for Human and Minority Rights to address LGBT people’s human rights.
Freedom of assembly
LGBT Forum Progres planned the fi rst Pride Parade in the city of Podgorica, securing statements of support from some government officials. However, after violent attacks during the IDAHO public event in May, the organisers postponed the Parade. The organisation underscored that the Pride Parade was not simply cancelled because of the violence, but also because of the lack of State support. Prime Minister Igor Lukšić publicly supported the Parade, but the Minister for Minority and Human Rights Ferhat Dinosa did not. Although the government said it would take steps to protect the marchers from violence, human rights defenders said that no concrete plans had been made.
Freedom of expression
An LGBT human rights defender was temporarily kept in the premises of Ministry of Human and Minority Rights by the security staff for putting up posters at the Ministry of Human and Minority Rights demanding that Minister Ferhat Dinosa “do his job or resign.” The Minister had commented that “if it is true that gays and lesbians exist in Montenegro, then it is not good for Montenegro.” The action targeted Minister Dinosa because of his role in provoking the decision to suspend the country’s first LGBT Pride Parade due to a lack of unequivocal official support and fears that the authorities had not done enough to ensure the safety of the marchers.
Human rights defenders
In February, human rights defenders established the country’s first publicly visible LGBT organisation, LGBT Forum Progres, which aims to represent LGBTIQ people in Montenegro and to stand for respect and protection of their human rights and equality in society. They aim to work towards a democratic society in Montenegro where the LGBTIQ community is accepted, visible and protected.
Participation in public/political life
- In September, the Montenegrin Government hosted an international conference on human rights with a focus on sexual orientation and gender identity called Toward Europe, Toward Equality, which was attended by a variety of international and national offi cials. The stated aim of the conference was: (i) to create a forum of understanding of the importance of Pride Parades for the LGBT community, including how such Parades could be successfully organised in Montenegro; (ii) to provide training on the rights of LGBT people and LGBT sensitivity to judges, prosecutors and law enforcement offi cials; and (iii) to create public awareness and dialogue about LGBT issues. A number of organisations did not participate in this conference due to the inadequate “relation of the Government towards domestic civil society and the lack of track record in improvement of the situation of LGBT population.” They made a number of recommendations and recommitted themselves to working with the government if certain terms were met.
- In October, a meeting was held between the Vice President of the Government of Montenegro Duško Marković and representatives of NGOs. During the meeting, it was agreed that a working group would be established at government level to prepare a programme and Action Plan on the fi ght against homophobia. The programme was to be created on the basis of a draft National Action Plan against homophobia created by Together for LGBT Rights, a coalition of LGBT human rights defenders, 20 NGOs, 10 governmental organisations and four media representatives within the project Montenegro – a bright spot on a gay map. As well as the working group, two expert groups were also formed to deal with the analysis of the legal framework from the perspective of compliance with international standards and human rights judicial practice, followed by an analysis of the presence of human rights of LGBT people in school text books.
A poll conducted by the Centre for Democracy and Human Rights in cooperation with the Montenegro Ministry of Minorities, found high levels of disapproval of homosexuality. 57% of Montenegrins reported they would not want a gay person to be their neighbour, and many stated that LGB people face discrimination in employment. The poll also revealed biases against certain ethnic groups, such as Roma and ethnic Albanians, as well as against women.