Two separate hate crimes against LGBTIQ+ People in Belgrade shock the local community.
Member organisations of ERA recently reported that in the night between 27 and 28 February, three young men were attacked in Manjež Park in Belgrade. The reason for the attack was their sexual orientation. A group of men belonging to the "Skinheads" stabbed one of the victims with a knife, and attacked the others with a broken bottle. The victims were hospitalized, and one of them has serious injuries. Meanwhile a day later the security guards of a Belgrade nightclub inflicted injuries on a gay man, an attack which seems to have been also due to the victims’ sexual orientation.
Local LGBTIQ+ organisations have expressed outrage and concern for the increase in the number of hate crimes and attacks against the community, as state authorities continue to remain silent and not address or prosecute these crimes properly. According to local organization Da Se Zna!, which collects data on hate crimes and incidents in Serbia, 68 incidents motivated by homophobia and transphobia have been recorded since August of last year alone. Almost 90% of the victims of homophobic and transphobic incidents reported to the competent authorities do not have any information about the cases they reported. They also add that “as a rule, LGBTIQ+ people who have suffered violence are exposed to secondary victimization, and such cases rarely result in the initiation of court proceedings”.
For the above reasons, local LGBTIQ+ organisations are organizing a protest at Mark Manjež Park on Friday, 3 March at 18:00 under the slogan “Hate Kills” to demand that those responsible for the attacks are identified and adequately punished. They have also requested an urgent meeting with the Minister of Interior, Bratislav Gašić.
ILGA-Europe’s Annual Review of the Human Rights Situation of LGBTI People in Europe and Central Asia finds that 2022 was the most violent year for LGBTI people across the region in the past decade, both through planned, ferocious attacks and through suicides in the wake of rising and widespread hate speech from politicians, religious leaders, right-wing organisations and media pundits.
We at ERA wish to express our deep concern about the rise in hate speech and hate crimes against LGBTIQ+ people in our region. The unhinged derogatory language of the clergy, right wing political parties and other so-called “activists” is not only causing harm to the mental well-being of LGBTIQ+ people but is also directly leading to more cases of discrimination, attacks, violence and other crimes.
We demand for the state authorities in Serbia to take the cases of hate crimes against LGBTIQ+ people with utmost seriousness and to promote a language of tolerance and respect for the LGBTIQ+ community, who have become the punching back of nationalistic and fascistic rhetoric in Serbia as well as other countries of the region.
We encourage all LGBTIQ+ people in Serbia and the rest of the Western Balkans and Turkey, not to remain silent in cases of violence and attacks and to report those attacks directly to local organisations, who can assist them with psychological and legal counseling. We also encourage them to directly report incidents on our regional platform, You Are Heard, available in all local languages. The portal provides also information on local organizations that provide services to victims of hate crimes and incidents in the respective countries.