In February 2018, Macedonian Members of Parliament from several political parties formed an inter-party working group on LGBTI rights. For the first time in the history of the country a caucus will look into the challenges and priorities of the Macedonian LGBTI community. The official launch of the group was attended by many MP’s, representatives of the international community and representatives of the National Network against Homophobia and Transphobia.
The group consists of 13 members from various political parties, including DOM, DUI, independent MPs. LDP, SDSM and NSDP. This means that all parliamentary groups of the Parliament – except for VMRO -DPMNE – have endorsed and supported the creation of this group.
The mission of the group is to make use of all mechanisms available in Parliament, to contribute for a society where sexual orientation and gender identity will not be an obstacle for the full enjoyment of their human rights.
Pavle Bogoevski, an independent MP and deputy coordinator of the group enlisted as main priorities of the LGBTI community: “protection from discrimination, protection from hate speech, and protection from violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity”.
Bekim Asani, an activist and representative of LGBT United Tetovo stated that “this is one of the first important steps for the legal recognition of LGBTI people in Macedonia. We expect the new amendments of the law for protection from discrimination to include sexual orientation and gender identity as grounds for protection, while it is still too early to speak about marriage in Macedonia”.
Prior to the establishment of the intergroup, two Macedonian organizations, H.E.R.A (Health Education and Research Association) and Coalition Margins, conducted an Asessment of the knowledge, attitudes, practices and needs of members of the Macedonian Parliament in respect to the human rights of LGBTI people and protection against discrimination. One of the conclusions of the analsysis was that “MPs from the parliamentary majority and most MPs from Albanian political parties give support for protection against discrimination, violence and hate speech towards LGBTI people.”
The European Parliament Integroup on LGBTI Rights officially congratulated the launch and creation of such group. In April a working meeting was facilitated by the Norwegian Helsinki Committee
Contributors: Elena Petrovska, Bekim Asani, Antonio Mihajlov
Photo Credit: National network against Homophobia and Transphobia