This report is a summary of developments in the countries of the Western Balkans (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Slovenia) and Turkey from January until December 2018.
ERA’s Annual General Assembly is the biggest LGBTI event organized in the region since 2015. The conference is a lobby, advocacy, capacity building and visibility event which brings together more than 160 participants from across the region, Europe and beyond. LGBTI activists, state officials (governments, Parliaments, equality bodies etc.), donors, researchers, journalists, diplomatic community, representatives of international organizations and members of the local community attend the event.
Republic of Turkey joined Council of Europe on 9 August 1949 and is one of the oldest members. The Council of Europe has a well-established large-scale country-specific co-operation in Turkey mainly in the field of rule of law and fundamental freedoms. However, the country has been facing some major challenges in the past years, especially in the field of human rights and freedoms, including the overall protection of the rights of LGBTI persons.
The EU accession process has been, and continues to be, a driving force for change in the recognition of the human rights of LGBTI people throughout the region not only through the criteria that countries have to meet, but through the annual Enlargement Reports.
Public opinion polls have shown that LGBTI persons, along with Roma persons, are the least accepted minority group in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The vast majority of the citizens of BiH continue to see homosexuality as a disease and support criminal prosecution and punishment of LGBTI persons. The vast majority of families would not accept an LGBTI family member and would reject and exclude them solely by reason of their different identity and personal characteristics.
The results of the survey on the experiences of LGBTI people in Southeastern Europe reveal a collective experience of discrimination, harassment, exclusion and violence. The report “Life on the Margins: Survey Results of the Experience of LGBTI people in South Eastern Europe” was published by the World Bank in partnership with IPSOS Strategic Marketing, ERA – LGBTI Equal Rights Association for the Western Balkans and Turkey, and the Williams Institute at UCLA.
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