Stop the hate violence towards LGBT people! 23 June 2013
We strongly condemn the hate violence that occurred in front of the monument “A Warrior on a Horse” and the demolition of the LGBT Centre in the Old Bazaar (during a projection of a film and the forum for the rights of transgender people) and the hate speech that provokes violence and discrimination.
We demand that the Ministry of Interior most urgently identify and arrest the criminal offenders who assaulted a person in the Centre of Skopje, who yet again demolished the LGBT Centre in the Old Bazaar, who attacked and injured a police officer while on duty, and who spread and continue to spread threats and hate speech that provokes violence and discrimination on the ground of sexual orientation and gender identity.
Unfortunately, in spite of the undertaken preventive measurements by the Ministry of Interior, serious criminal acts were committed (violence on the Square, violence towards the LGBT Centre and the activists inside it, an attack of a police officer) for which there are numerous indications to have been criminal acts committed out of hatred on the ground of sexual orientation and gender identity.
Even though this is not the first attack of the LGBT Centre, it is the first one committed in the presence of people and during an event, hence it is our opinion that the intolerance towards the LGBT community is increasing. As a result, we call upon the Public Prosecutor’s Office to finally recognize the criminal acts committed out of hate towards people’s characteristics, therefore we demand that the criminal offenders be found and prosecuted for violence caused from discrimination on the ground of sexual orientation and gender identity of people.
We demand that the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights be finally applied, wherein it is stated that “sexual orientation as a fundamental characteristic of a person, should be treated in the same manner as the categories race, ethnicity and religion, which are most often covered by laws for sanctioning hate speech and hate violence.” It is our opinion that with this the LGBT Community shall receive the protection and support from the institutions whose obligations is to protect the rights of all citizens and shall prevent such violence from occurring again in the future.
We would like to remind the public that as early as 21.06.2012, the Coalition and the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights reported to the police that publicly “open violence is encouraged towards LGBT people” and that “we expect from the Ministry of Interior to undertake the necessary measurements for protection against violence, discrimination and spread of hate on the ground of sexual orientation and gender identity and to provide peaceful and undisturbed proceeding of the planned activities within the “Pride Week”.
We call upon the Prime Minister and the President of the Republic of Macedonia to condemn such violence, because LGBT people are also citizens of the Republic of Macedonia and should be respected and protected as the rest of the citizens of this state.
We demand from the leaders of the political parties, as well as the religious communities to condemn the violence towards the LGBT people and the human rights activists and to disassociate themselves from the hooligans and the neo-Nazi groups who publicly encourage violence and discrimination.
We demand that the Government and the Members of Parliament prepare amendments to the laws in order to criminally punish hate speech on the ground of sexual orientation and gender identity and to foresee more severe punishments for acts committed due to hate towards sexual orientation and gender identity.
We make an appeal to the media and the journalists to stop spreading misinformation (for instance the misinformation regarding the “Gay Pride”), to refrain themselves from spreading negative stereotypes and prejudices regarding LGBT people and from publishing contents that encourage violence and discrimination on any ground.
We call upon the civil and intellectual public of the Republic of Macedonia to condemn most strenuously the violence towards the LGBT people (who were attacked by masked hooligans during a tribune in the LGBT centre), as well as the extremists groups (from neo-Nazis, masked hooligans to religious fanatics) who have begun to ravage publicly in the centre of Skopje.
Once more, we demand from the Ministry of Interior to undertake the necessary measures for protection of the LGBT people and human rights activists against violence, discrimination and spread of hatred on the ground of sexual orientation and gender identity, and to provide peaceful and undisturbed proceeding of the other planned activities within the “Pride Week.”
Helsinki Committee for Humans Rights of the Republic of Macedonia, Coalition “Sexual and Health Rights of the Marginalized Communities” Skopje, LGBT United - Tetovo