Home Human Rights Being LGBTI in the Western Balkans is easier, but far from easy

Being LGBTI in the Western Balkans is easier, but far from easy

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— Legend —

Belgrade, Serbia – Thanks to better laws and protections in the Western Balkans, the situation of LGBTI people have improved. However, challenges and gaps in the implementation of laws, as well as persistent social stigma, mean that there is still a long way to go for these communities to benefit from development.

These findings brought together government leaders, policy makers and civil society activists with international development partners in Belgrade, Serbia, for a two-day subregional dialogue hosted by the United Nations Development Program ( UNDP) and supported by the United States Agency for International Development. Development (USAID) to reinvigorate joint efforts to: Reduce inequalities and exclusion, and combat homophobia and transphobia experienced by LGBTI people in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and in Serbia.

While we all appreciate the improvements in the legal frameworks in our project target countries, we must also recognize the gaps and reaffirm the need for their full implementation.said Steliana Nedera, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative in Serbia, emphasizing that “some areas are still unregulated or will require legislative changes, such as the situation of intersex and trans people, or same-sex partnerships“.

Some of the gaps include inconsistent implementation of anti-discrimination legislation, investigation, prosecution and punishment of hate crimes, and full legal recognition of transgender people.

This message addressed to around 100 participants at the opening of the two-day event was reiterated by Meho Omerović, member of the Serbian Parliament and chairman of its Committee on Human and Minority Rights and Equal Opportunities. gender, which recognized the need to enact new laws and policies, as well as their consistent implementation to foster an environment conducive to better protection and promotion of the rights of LGBTI people.

To this end, partners called for advocacy priorities to include protection from violence, police abuse, stigma and discrimination in employment, health, education, housing, justice and government services.

UN agencies and programs have long emphasized that violence and discrimination against LGBTI people must end, demonstrating shared commitment and support for the protection of sexual orientation and gender rights. gender identity. An open window of opportunity for the promotion of LGBTI rights has been created for Eastern European countries as part of their efforts to adopt anti-discrimination legislation and establish institutions and mechanisms for protection of human rights in the context of democratization and accession to the European Union.

“The sub-regional dialogue provided a platform to share lessons learned from the work of reducing inequalities and exclusion experienced by LGBTI people and build on the strong momentum generated by the project in the four countries of programming from the Western Balkans and beyond. said Dr Rosemary Kumwenda, Regional Team Leader for Eastern Europe and CIS, UNDP Regional Center in Istanbul.

The project entitled “Being LGBTI in Eastern Europe”, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by UNDP, aims to reduce inequalities and exclusion experienced by LGBTI people by strengthening the evidence base, developing advocacy approaches and tools in national languages ​​and organizing dialogues bringing together national decision-makers from the executive, legislative and judicial branches with LGBTI civil society organizations, their allies and other stakeholders.

The sub-regional dialogue is an important step in building consensus and strengthening the movement for legal and social change to advance the human rights of LGBTI people in the Western Balkan countries.


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