Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue Meeting on Access to Justice for LGBTI+ people takes place in Skopje
ERA – LGBTI Equal Rights Association for Western Balkans and Turkey (ERA), in partnership with the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights, LGBTI Support Center and Coalition Margins, hosted the Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue Meeting: Access to Justice For LGBTIQ+ people on 14 June at the Europe House in Skopje, North Macedonia. The Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue Meeting aimed to contribute to higher reporting and increasing trust in the system by promoting the You Are Heard platform.
In the event's first session, opening remarks were given by Amarildo Fecanji, ERA, Uranija Pirovska, Helsinki Committee for Human Rights, Natasa Boskova, Coalition Margins, H.M. Ambassador Rachel Galloway, and Marija Andreeva, Council of Europe.
The second segment was focused on promoting the You Are Heard Platform. The platform was developed by ERA in partnership with Stonewall UK and 13 member organisations from the Western Balkans and Turkey and supported by the British Foreign and Commonwealth Development Office. You Are Heard is a platform where the LGBTQI+ community and allies in 9 countries of the Balkans and Turkey can safely report hate incidents and find support. The collected data will contribute to evidence-based advocacy to improve the accountability of actors across the region in the administration of justice; and develop community-wide approaches to addressing hate crimes/speech such as psychosocial support, peer-to-peer counselling, support groups, educational workshops to recognise hate crime/speech and where to report it and similar.
The final segment included a round table discussion. The speakers included Slavica Anastasovska, Helsinki Committee for Human Rights, Predrag Jovanovski, TransFormA, Maja Morachanin, Interparty Parliamentary Group on LGBTI, Kire Vasilev, Commission on Protection and Prevention of Discrimination and Biljana Ginova, ERA as a discussion moderator.
The main conclusions and recommendations from the event included:
- Continuous advancement and harmonisation of the legislation to ensure better access to justice for LGBTIQ+ people;
- Urgent adoption of the Law on Civil Registry that defines the administrative procedure for Legal Gender Recognition based on the principle of self-determination;
- The state fails to ensure proper implementation of the legislation, thus failing to protect LGBTIQ+ people from violence and discrimination. Efforts need to be placed to tackle the current culture of impunity and improve the legislation implementation;
- The Parliamentary Assembly to use their jurisdiction and organise oversight hearings for the implementation of the LGBTIQ+ relevant legislation;
- To implement continuous training programmes with a focus on LGBTIQ+ for the state officers in all relevant institutions, including judiciary, police, social services and similar;
- Without adequate protection by the state, the LGBTIQ+ people seem to embed more trust in the Commission for Protection and Prevention of Discrimination. The cooperation between the Commission, civil society and the state to be enhanced;
- Disaggregated data collection is lacking within the state institutions. LGBTIQ+ CSOs to continue to collect and analyse data on experiences of hate crimes, hate speech and discrimination;
- Continuous multi-stakeholders dialogues and cooperation is needed to advance the situation with access to justice for LGBTIQ+ people;
- The donor community should provide funding and support for the programs of LGBTIQ+ organisations on access to justice for LGBTIQ+ persons;
- Multi-stakeholder cooperation is needed in tackling the anti-gender movement.
The event was financially supported by the Horizontal Facility programme of the European Union and Council of Europe.