Allow Gay Pride: Serbia warned by Council of Europe, EU
BELGRADE, September 18, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Council of Europe has issued a letter again condemning the action of the Serbian government in opposing “Gay Pride” demonstrations, planned for September 28th. Public opinion in the 85 per cent Orthodox Christian country, remains strongly opposed to the homosexual agenda.
The Council’s Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils Muiznieks, has sent a letter to homosexualist organizers, saying that the government is violating their “freedoms of expression and peaceful assembly”. In his letter, Muiznieks raised doubts that “a real danger” exists “of disorder which cannot be prevented by reasonable and appropriate measures”. The European Convention on Human Rights, to which Serbia is signatory, includes provisions that allow governments to restrict assembly when there is a threat to “public safety,” or “for the prevention of disorder or crime”.
Parades and demonstrations by homosexualist activists have been banned in the Balkan country since 2010 when they touched off street violence between an estimated 1000 homosexuals and their supporters and about 6000 counter-demonstrators. The demonstrations in 2010, moreover, were the first that had been allowed since similar fears of violence at Gay Pride events in 2001. That year, homosexualist organisers cancelled the event themselves rather than accept an alternative route offered by the city over security concerns.
In July this year, counter-demonstrators clashed again with homosexual marchers and police at the first Gay Pride event in neighboring Montenegro, another former Yugoslav republic.
A spokesman for the Serbian embassy in Brussels told EUobserver that the decision “is not aimed at harming and denying anyone’s human and civil rights and freedoms, but it has been made in order to protect the safety of citizens of Belgrade and prevent possible clashes and riots.”
With the country in the midst of crucial discussions over membership in the European Union, 15 Western countries and the European Union continue to pressure the government of Serbia to lift their ban. Although an EU spokesman downplayed the issue, the European Commission’s “Serbia: 2012 Progress Report” specified Serbia’s cancellation of the demonstrations as an area of concern in the country’s eligibility for EU membership.
The spokesman for the group, the ambassador to Serbia from the Netherlands, Laurent Stokvis, issued a statement urging “an end to the impunity with which some groups have been able to threaten disruption of the Pride parade, lending to the refusal of permission for Pride marches in recent years, or threaten physical violence against participants.”
The Serbian government has cited the violent clashes during the 2001 Gay Pride event as the reason for the ban as well as protests over an exhibition of art depicting Jesus Christ in “LGBT” themes. The government has also cancelled events unrelated to homosexuality on the grounds of fears of violence.
Last year, Peter Stano, an official with the EU’s enlargement commission, called promotion of “LGBT rights” one of the “core foundations of the European project”.
As the backlash from Western countries grows more intense over Russia’s ban on homosexual propaganda, a number of Balkan, Eastern European and former Soviet Bloc nations are pushing back against the growth of the leftist-backed international homosexualist movement. Serbia, along with many countries that remain skeptical of the homosexualist movement, has been under intense pressure from international bodies for years to increase official acceptance.
In 2008, the Council of Europe adopted a resolution to step up pressure to implement the “LGBT” goals in EU member states that retain traditional definitions of marriage, family and “gender”. The Committee of Ministers of the Council said more work must be aimed at “enhanced… action against discrimination,” particularly in the areas of “marital and non-marital partnerships and cohabitation” in member states who have not yet implemented legal recognition of homosexual and other types of unions. Member states will be instructed to “avoid and remedy any discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity”.
In 2009, the head of the United Nations (UN) mission in Serbia, William Infante, came under criticism for working closely with homosexualist activists to promote the Gay Pride demonstrations in Belgrade. The same year, Serbia bowed to European pressure, passing a law providing for “freedom of expression of sexual orientation and gender identity.”
Despite the overwhelming opposition to homosexuality among the population, the government has implemented a series of laws endorsed by Europe’s well-funded homosexualist lobby, including the 2011 Youth Law that prohibits “discrimination on the ground of sexual orientation,” and changes to the Health Insurance Law that allow “gender reassignment” surgery to be paid for by the state. A December 2012 change to the penal code introduced “hate crimes,” that include “sexual orientation and gender identity” as a protected category.