Europe urges Serbia to implement gay rights law

22nd September 2009, Comments 0 comments

The Gay Pride parade was called off on Saturday after police and government officials said they could not ensure security to the participants after ultra-nationalist groups threatened to violently break up the event.

Belgrade -- Top European institutions urged Serbia Monday to fully implement a law banning discrimination against homosexuals after Belgrade's Gay Pride parade was canceled due to fears of violence.

"The state authorities have a direct responsibility to guarantee the effective exercise of these human rights," the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), European Commission and Council of Europe's delegations in Serbia said in a joint statement.

"Unfortunately, this weekend threats, intimidation and intolerance dominated over dignity, tolerance and pride," the statement said.

The Gay Pride parade was called off on Saturday after police and government officials said they could not ensure security to the participants after ultra-nationalist groups threatened to violently break up the event.

The authorities suggested a different venue away from the city centre, but the organisers rejected the proposal.

In March parliament passed a law banning discrimination against gays despite opposition from nationalists and religious leaders.

The European institutions noted that they had welcomed the adoption of the law. "In this respect, they point to the need for this crucial legal act to be fully and thoroughly implemented," the statement said.

The gay march would have been the first for nearly a decade since the last one in 2001 broke up amid violent clashes with right-wing extremists.

AFP/Expatica

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