A cross-party group of 145 Members of the European Parliament has urged the Serbian president to revoke the controversial cancellation of the 2022 EuroPride that was scheduled to happen later this month within the nation’s capital.
“Pleasure demonstrations are peaceable instruments for political advocacy and a method through which the common proper to freedom of expression and peaceable meeting is crystallised,” the MEPs wrote in a joint letter to Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić.
The lawmakers additionally requested the federal government to extend police safety and make sure the security of the hundreds of individuals anticipated to take part within the Pleasure march in Belgrade and all associated occasions in what’s the continent’s largest annual LGBTQ+ occasion.
“We’re conscious that there are threats to the safety of protestors, but we keep that banning this occasion outright will not be the appropriate answer,” they mentioned.
The doc’s signatories embody the leaders of the socialist, greens, liberal and left teams, along with dozens of their colleagues. Six vice-presidents of the parliament additionally signed the letter.
Manfred Weber, chair of centre-right European Folks’s Celebration (EPP), the biggest group within the hemicycle, didn’t add his title, though 9 of his fellow parliamentarians selected to take action.
European President Roberta Metsola, who belongs to the EPP and has been a powerful advocate for LGBTQ+ rights all through her profession, equally abstained.
“Roberta, because the President, representing the entire Parliament, doesn’t co-sign letters and doesn’t vote in plenary as a common rule,” a spokesperson for Metsola informed Euronews. “Nonetheless, she is, and has at all times been, a vocal supporter of [LGBTQ+] rights.”
The celebration of EuroPride in Serbia got here with excessive expectations.
Belgrade was to develop into the primary metropolis in Southeast Europe to host a pan-European LGBTQ+ occasion — one thing that many noticed as an enormous step ahead for the previous Yugoslav republic.
“EuroPride in Belgrade is extremely important as a result of [LGBTQ+] folks proceed to face discrimination within the Balkans, as they do in different elements of Europe,” the MEPs mentioned. “Awarding EuroPride to Belgrade was and stays the appropriate choice.”
In accordance with ILGA-Europe, Serbia ranks poorly when it comes to LGBTQ+ rights, together with constitutional protections, authorized gender recognition, hate crime legal guidelines and civil society area — though it ranks greater than a number of EU member states, like Poland, Latvia, Romania and Bulgaria.
Vučić made the shocking announcement on Sunday, saying the Pleasure could be “cancelled or postponed” resulting from latest points rocking the nation’s inner stability, similar to a border spat with Kosovo.
The Serbian chief mentioned he was “not very completely satisfied to jeopardise the rights of a minority.”
Vučić denied that the choice was made resulting from mounting strain from the extra radical elements of the society and the Serbian Orthodox Church.
Earlier in August, hundreds attended a “pro-family” occasion backed by a non secular procession often known as “litije” by way of the streets of Belgrade, protesting the alleged adverse affect of EuroPride on conventional household values.
“It’s not about them being stronger. You merely can’t do every part at one level and that’s that,” Vučić mentioned.
Of their letter, the MEPs reminded the Serbian authorities that, in response to earlier rulings of the European Courtroom of Human Rights (ECHR), a Pleasure ban is a breach of the European Conference of Human Rights, of which Serbia is a celebration.
The ECHR case legislation was additionally evoked by the European Pleasure Organisers Affiliation, or EPOA, which owns the licence to EuroPride and has vowed to go forward with the Parade.
The occasion stays scheduled to happen from 12 to 18 September.