Serbia ought to revoke EuroPride cancellation, 145 MEPs say in a letter to President Vučić

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.

“Satisfaction demonstrations are peaceable instruments for political advocacy and a technique 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 1000’s of individuals anticipated to take part within the Satisfaction 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 is just not the best resolution,” they mentioned. 

The doc’s signatories embrace 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 Get together (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. “Nevertheless, she is, and has at all times been, a vocal supporter of [LGBTQ+] rights.”

Controversial cancellation

The celebration of EuroPride in Serbia got here with excessive expectations. 

Belgrade was to grow to be 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 very vital as a result of [LGBTQ+] individuals proceed to face discrimination within the Balkans, as they do in different components of Europe,” the MEPs mentioned. “Awarding EuroPride to Belgrade was and stays the best resolution.”

Based on 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 stunning announcement on Sunday, saying the Satisfaction can be “cancelled or postponed” because of current points rocking the nation’s inner stability, resembling a border spat with Kosovo.

The Serbian chief mentioned he was “not very joyful to jeopardise the rights of a minority.”

Vučić denied that the choice was made because of mounting stress from the extra radical components of the society and the Serbian Orthodox Church.

Earlier in August, 1000’s attended a “pro-family” occasion backed by a spiritual procession generally known as “litije” by means of the streets of Belgrade, protesting the alleged destructive affect of EuroPride on conventional household values.

“It’s not about them being stronger. You merely can’t do every thing at one level and that’s that,” Vučić mentioned.

Of their letter, the MEPs reminded the Serbian authorities that, in line with earlier rulings of the European Court docket of Human Rights (ECHR), a Satisfaction ban is a breach of the European Conference of Human Rights, of which Serbia is a celebration.

The ECHR case regulation was additionally evoked by the European Satisfaction 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.

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