LGBTI Rights = Human Rights, Highlights National Rountable on Being LGBTI in Serbia

Jun 24, 2016

The national round-table held today discussed the situation of LGBTI people in Serbia with a view to reducing Inequalities and exclusion, and combating homophobia & transphobia experienced by LGBTI people.

The United Nations are committed to fighting all forms of discrimination. More recently, the United Nations have become very concerned about the prevalence of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Despite some improvements in the recent past, the situation for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people in Eastern Europe is still challenging.

The United Nations has confirmed its position that violence and discrimination against LGBTI people must stop. An open window of opportunity for the promotion of LGBTI rights was created for countries in Eastern Europe as part of their efforts to take steps to adopt legislation against discrimination and the establishment of institutions and mechanisms for the protection of human rights in the context of democratization and accession to the European Union.

UNDP has developed a project entitled “Being LGBTI in Eastern Europe: Reducing Inequalities & Exclusion, and Combating Homophobia & Transphobia Experienced by LGBTI People” to examine the experience of LGBTI people and the overall context of LGBTI rights and health in the Western Balkans region.

The project is currently implemented in four selected Balkan countries: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and Serbia in close cooperation with ERA - LGBTI Equal Rights Association for Western Balkans and Turkey and with the support from USAID.

At this round-table discussion UNDP seeks to support the dialogue between national decision makers from the executive, legislative and judiciary branches with LGBT civil society organizations, their allies and all other stakeholders.

“This project is aimed not only at reducing inequalities and exclusion experienced by LGBTI people, but also at promoting human rights in general,” said Steliana Nedera, UNDP Serbia Deputy Resident Representative at the opening of the event, going on to highlight that “the rights of LGBTI people are an integral part of the international system of human rights protection and it is therefore necessary for all of us, in a partnership, to contribute to their improvement”

Ms. Jasna Plavšić, the Head of the Group for Anti-Discrimination Policy at the Serbian Office for Human and Minority Rights summarized the regulatory, institutional and empirical environment for this mission.

Mr. Alex Gainer, Program Office Director at USAID pointed out that many of the issues affecting LGBTI people in Serbia and Eastern Europe are the same world over, reminding participants of the recent horrible loss of life in Orlando, US, having thanked people in Serbia who have expressed their sympathies at the US Embassy in Belgrade, Serbia.

In cooperation with governments, other UN agencies, international organizations, and civil society actors, UNDP works to develop the capacity of national legislators, government offices and civil society actors on matters of rights, health and key populations. Considering the overall context of rights of LGBTI people and health in the Western Balkans region, UNDP has developed a project entitled “Being LGBTI in Eastern Europe: Reducing Inequalities & Exclusion, and Combating Homophobia & Transphobia Experienced by LGBTI People” to examine the experience of LGBTI people in four selected Eastern European countries: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and Serbia. Kosovo (as per UN Security Council Resolution 1244) and Montenegro will also benefit from the sub-regional activities and resources provided under this project.

The project has been designed to contribute to the reduction of inequalities and exclusion experienced by LGBTI people, by combating homophobia and transphobia by advocating for change and connecting countries to knowledge, experience and resources to help people build better lives.

The project aims to strengthen the evidence base, develop advocacy approaches and instruments in national languages, and convene dialogues that bring together national decision makers from the executive, legislative and judiciary branches with LGBTI CSOs, their allies and other stakeholders.

Further reading on UN and LGBTI rights:  Free & Equal campaign - https://unfe.org/

http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Issues/Discrimination/LGBT_discrimination.pdf

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