Anti-discrimination legislation must protect all lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people in Serbia

ERA - LGBTI Equal Rights Association for the Western Balkans and Turkey (ERA) applauds the Serbian Ministry for Human and Minority Rights and Social Dialogue commitment to advancing the anti-discrimination legislation in the country. We further welcome the broad public consultation process inviting all relevant stakeholders in the society to shape anti-discrimination legislation to protect all citizens, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people. Like the other relevant actors in the society, ERA participated by submitting a list of amendments in September 2019.


However, the lack of incorporation of our suggestions in the draft law raises concerns among ERA’s member organisations and the LGBTI community in Serbia. The recommendations that the working group for drafting the law failed to consider include:


·      Article 2 in the draft law fails to include gender expression and sex characteristics as protected grounds of discrimination;

·      Article 5 fails to include multiple discrimination and intersectional discrimination;

·      Article 13 that defines severe forms of discrimination fails to include sexual orientation, gender expression and sex characteristics;   

·      Article 21 of the draft law provides a definition of discrimination on the ground of sexual orientation. However, the draft law fails to include such explanations for gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics. 


For these reasons, ERA, together with its members: Da se Zna!, Geten, XY Spectrum, Group Come Out, and Association Rainbow, re-submitted a revised list of suggestions to contribute towards the advancement of the draft law on anti-discrimination. LGBTI people are equal members of Serbian society, and the anti-discrimination legislation should undoubtedly manifest that.


The 2020 Annual LGBTI Survey in Serbia shows that LGBTI citizens face a high level of discrimination and violence while having low or no trust in the Government that will protect them. Based on the findings, 77% of LGBTI people consider that the Government does not care about the human rights of the LGBTI population in Serbian society, and 82% believe that Serbia is not a good place to live as an LGBTI person. 


Based on the Comparative Analysis of the Socio-economic dimension of LGBTI exclusion documents, the adverse effects the discrimination has on the victims, including their health and ability to fulfil their full potential in education or employment. One in 10 LGBTI respondents (10%) has quit a paid job. Intersex (14%) and transgender (27%) respondents far more often quit paid employment due to unequal or unfair treatment. 


Applying the recommendations proposed by ERA and its members may improve access to rights for the LGBTI people in Serbia and increase the confidence in the State to protect every citizen no matter their sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression or sex characteristics. 


ERA will continue to monitor the developments regarding the anti-discrimination legislation and will continue to closely work together with its members towards full respect of all human rights of LGBTI people in Serbia.