Serbia: ban on Belgrade Pride for second year running is 'victory for prejudice'

Today’s decision by Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic to ban Belgrade’s Pride march for the second year in a row is “a victory for prejudice” and puts the country in breach of its own law and constitution, Amnesty International said.

The march, due to take place on Saturday, was banned after the head of Serbia’s Christian Orthodox Church, politicians from the ruling coalition and extremist organisations intervened urging the Pride to be outlawed.

Explaining the reasons for the second ban of the event in so many years, Prime Minister Dacic - who is also minister of the interior - cited alleged serious security concerns, protection of human lives and preservation of public peace and order.

Amnesty International Europe and Central Asia Director John Dalhuisen said:

“The banning of the 2012 Belgrade Pride is a victory for prejudice and a sorry defeat for human rights and common decency.
“By banning the 2012 Belgrade Pride Serbia’s government is effectively going against its own legal and constitutional protections for basic rights such as freedom of expression and freedom of assembly to all lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in Serbia.

“It is the government’s job - its obligation - to ensure that peaceful gatherings such as the Belgrade Pride can go ahead without unlawful interference. Sadly, it appears that this new government lacks the political will to guarantee such rights.”

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