It should be of utmost priority that the police and prosecution identify and prosecute the perpetrators of the horrific homophobic hate crime in Montenegro.
ERA condemns the violent hate crime against a beneficiary in the LGBTQ Shelter in Podgorica. We call upon the police and prosecution for urgent action to identify and adequately prosecute the perpetrators.
The public condemnation of the violent attack coming from the state authorities, LGBTI and other Human Rights organisations, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights and the diplomatic core in the country is significant. However, it is essential to investigate, prosecute and punish the perpetrators of LBT people, and ensure that the victim receives appropriate remedies. The lack of legal resolution could easily be interpreted as support by the perpetrators and can strengthen the violent culture and increase the violent homophobic and transphobic attacks.
We are concerned to see the rise of hate crimes biased by sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression or sex characteristics of the victims in Montenegro. The Survey Results of the Experiences of LGBTI People in Southeastern Europe show that 46% of LGBTI people in Montenegro have experienced physical assault or have been threatened with physical (36%) or sexual (13%) violence.
The Montenegrin Criminal Code recognises hate crimes on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity, providing a legal background for the perpetrators to be charged with an aggravated penalty. The culture of impunity of perpetrators of homophobic and transphobic violence only leads to more violence and a social context that is marginalising and leaving behind every member of society that does not fit in the heteropatriarchal cisgender norms.
“Across the Western Balkans region, including in Montenegro, most hate crimes against LGBTI people are not reported to the authorities due to lack of trust and fear of repercussions.
This is why responding adequately, swiftly and professionally to those crimes that are reported is very important. We commend the public condemnation of this crime by the Prime Minister as well as the Minister for Human Rights of Montenegro and encourage authorities to bring perpetrators to justice. - Amarildo Fecanji, Executive Director at ERA.
Therefore, at ERA, we join the calls from our member organisations from Montenegro for a prompt investigation and resolution of this case and break the chain of impunity in the homophobic and transphobic hate crimes. Moreover, we call for full implementation of the Joint Action Platform, launched by five LGBTIQ organisations, to build a society that provides equal access to rights for everyone regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression or sex characteristics.