“Equality cannot be achieved by words alone”, says PACE General Rapporteur as Belgrade Pride week begins

“On the occasion of Belgrade Pride week, 4-9 September 2023, and of the anniversary of Belgrade EuroPride 2022, I take this opportunity to remind the Serbian authorities that as a State party to the European Convention on Human Rights, Serbia has committed itself to protecting individual rights and freedoms, including freedom of expression and freedom of assembly as fundamental human rights,” today declared Christophe Lacroix (Belgium, SOC), PACE General Rapporteur on the rights of LGBTI people and rapporteur for an ongoing report on “Freedom of expression and assembly of LGBTI people in Europe”

Photo: Belgrade Pride

“This means protecting the fundamental right of everyone to assemble peacefully and unhindered, and to express their opinions publicly,” he emphasised. “Crucially, it also means guaranteeing the safety of all participants in such an assembly. In line with international standards, this responsibility lies with the State.”

“As I underlined last year, the Serbian authorities have frequently professed their support for equality. This is welcome – but words are not enough. Equality can only be attained by working actively to promote it and achieve it. Pride events are a vital means of expressing solidarity with and giving visibility to the struggle for LGBTI equality. In line with the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights, the authorities must support such events and enable them to be held safely. Equality as well as freedom of expression and assembly must be respected,” he concluded.

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