EU, OSCE: Pride Parade ban was wrong decision

30/09/2013
Submitted by ILGA-Europe

Reposted from B92: http://www.b92.net/eng/news/politics.php?yyyy=2013&mm=09&dd=30&nav_id=87822

BELGRADE -- Officials of the EU, the U.S. and OSCE expressed deep disappointment over the decision by the Serbian authorities to cancel Belgrade Pride Parade.

Officials of the EU, the U.S. and OSCE expressed deep disappointment over the decision by the Serbian authorities to cancel Belgrade Pride Parade.

European Parliament (EP) Rapporteur for Serbia Jelko Kacin said that this decision by the Serbian government is wrong and not helpful for the ones in the European institutions who are committed to the EU enlargement process and support to Serbia's reform pathway to the benefit of citizens and economy.
He said at a press conference of the 2013 Belgrade Pride Parade organizing committee that this way the government has sent a message to the domestic public and the governments of the EU member states that the state institutions are not doing their job.
The right to public assembly was not ensured and in the way Serbia did not pass a very visible test of independence of institutions, Kacin underlined.
Serbia has thus missed a chance to become the promoter of human and minority rights in the Western Balkans, he said.
Kacin underlined that he has an impression that Serbia is again in an intensive election campaign which slows down the reforms of institutions and society.
Head of the EU Mission to Serbia Michel Davenport said that an opportunity has been missed to show respect for all human rights.
He underlined that the Serbian government should take steps so that the right to freedom of assembly would be respected in future and the Parade would not be cancelled next year for the fourth time in a row.
Davenport said that mid-October the European Commission will publish a report on Serbia's progress as a member state in which the Parade ban will be labelled as a failure.
Goran Miletić, a member of the Pride Parade organizing committee, announced that the LGBT movement will put forward a motion to the Constitutional Court regarding the protection of its rights and address the European Court of Human Rights.
Head of the OSCE Mission to Serbia Peter Burkhard said that he is deeply concerned that the threats of violence by various extremist groups to the planned Pride March led to the decision by the authorities to cancel the event for the third year in a row.
Although we recognize that the decision was based on a security assessment, it is highly disappointing that the climate created by those intent on inciting violence did not allow citizens to enjoy their constitutionally guaranteed rights to freedom of assembly and freedom of expression, it was stated by the OSCE Mission.


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