World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


Bosnia: Attack on LGBT Activists

Ensure Justice, Protection for Activists
February 5, 2014

(Budapest) – Authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovinashould publicly condemn an attack on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) activists during an LGBT cultural event in Sarajevo on February 1, 2014. The authorities should bring the attackers to justice and make certain that LGBT activists get the protection they need.

About a dozen masked people stormed into the Merlinka Festival, a cultural event at the Sarajevo art cinema Kriterion at about 3:20 p.m. on February 1, a staff member from the Sarajevo Open Center, which organized the event, told Human Rights Watch. The attackers shouted homophobic insults such as, “There will be no [Pride] parade in Sarajevo” and, “There will be no faggots in Sarajevo,” then attacked three of the participants. Two were hospitalized with minor injuries and psychological trauma. A police investigation is underway, but no arrests have been made.

“Bosnian LGBT activists and their supporters should be able to gather without being the targets of homophobic attacks,” said Lydia Gall, Balkans and Eastern Europe researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The Bosnian authorities need to make clear that the attackers will be found and prosecuted.”

Sarajevo Open Center staff and Sarajevo police spokesperson Irfan Nefic told Human Rights Watch that the group had made a security arrangement with the police about three weeks in advance, including a plan to have police there by 2:30 p.m., a half hour before a planned panel discussion. However, Nefic confirmed that no officers were at the scene at the time of the attack. The police arrived just after the attackers left and did not explain the delay.

On February 2, the United States embassy condemned the attack, saying, “There is no place for hatred and intolerance in modern society” and, “LGBT rights are human rights.” The European Union Delegation to Bosnia and Herzegovina also condemned the attack and called on the authorities “to identify those responsible and bring them to justice swiftly.” But neither officials from the Sarajevo Cantonal or the central government have condemned the attack.

Sarajevo Open Center staff told Human Rights Watch that a group on Facebook called “Let’s Stop the Parade of Faggots on May 1, 2014” had posted numerous threats and incited violence against LGBT activists. In the period before the Merlinka Festival, the group “outed” five Sarajevan women as lesbians, referring to them as the “five most wanted lesbians in Sarajevo.”

Sarajevo Open Center staff said that the Facebook group had issued explicit threats against the cultural event early on February 1. As a result, the staff members had called the police, who confirmed the security plan for the event. Despite this phone call stressing the need for security and police confirmation of the security arrangement, police arrived 55 minutes behind schedule.

“The police in Bosnia and Herzegovina have a duty to protect all citizens regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity,” Gall said. “The fact that police turned up late at this event despite their agreement to be there put people at risk.”

This is not the first time police in Bosnia and Herzegovina have failed to safeguard LGBT activists. In 2008, Sarajevo police failed to protect organizers and participants of the Queer Sarajevo Festival. Nobody has been charged with attacks on eight people during that event.

Bosnia and Herzegovina is a party to the European Convention on Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Both treaties guarantee freedom of peaceful assembly and expression, and Bosnia and Herzegovina is obliged to protect these rights. The authorities have a duty to take appropriate measures to safeguard peaceful gatherings and protect them from attempts to violently disrupt them. Failing to do so is in breach of the government’s international and regional human rights obligations, Human Rights Watch said.

On March 31, 2010, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe unanimously adopted a set of recommendations to member states, including Bosnia and Herzegovina, on measures to combat discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. The recommendations promote tolerance and respect for LGBT people. Member states are encouraged to take measures to prevent restrictions on the effective enjoyment of the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.

“The troubling threats and attack on February 1 underscore the need for the Bosnian authorities to take stronger action to protect the human rights of LGBT people,” Gall said.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Connie Lawn: Middle East Turmoil

There is always turmoil in the Mid East but at this time three major developments have broken at the same time. In Saudi Arabia 91 year old King Abdullah has died... In Yemen, the President and his top advisors have resigned. More>>

ALSO:

Russia Supports Indonesia`s Possible Move To Buy Sukhoi 35

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The Russian government supports Indonesias wish to buy the multipurpose fighter jet Sukhoi 35 to enhance the countrys air force. More>>

Economy: International Monetary Fund Downgrade Global Growth Forecast

20 January 2015 – Despite a sharp decline in oil prices, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in its latest economic outlook today lowered growth expectations for this year and the next for most countries due to slowdown in investment, and urged governments ... More>>

ALSO:

UN Rights Expert Cancels Visit To Palestinian Territory

Israel’s lack of cooperation leads to cancelled visit by UN rights expert to the occupied Palestinian territory More>>

Pentagon To Deploy 400 Troops To Train Syrian Rebels

Rebel fighters take positions behind sand barricades at al-Breij frontline, after what they said was an advance by them in al-Manasher and al-Majbal areas, where forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad were stationed, in Aleppo January 5, 2015. ... More>>

ALSO:

U.S. Eases Sanctions On Export Of Tech To Cuba

Washington — Today, the Department of Treasury and Department of Commerce officially released the anticipated changes to the Cuban Assets Control Regulations (CACR) and Export Administration Regulations (EAR) , reforms announced last year by President ... More>>

Increased Gold Demand Following Shock SNB Move

Gold surged in dollars, pounds and especially euros yesterday after the Swiss Natonal Bank (SNB) caused turmoil in markets. Spot gold surged $30.50 or 2.48% to $1,258.50 per ounce and gold in euro terms rose by 4 per cent from EUR 1,044 to over EUR 1,085 ... More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news