An open letter on the occasion of the request for candidacy for membership of Serbia in the European Union

– Mr. Mirko Cvetkovic, Prime Minister of the Republic of Serbia
– Ms. Slavica Djukic Dejanovic, President of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia
– Ministers in the Government of the Republic of Serbia
– Representatives in the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia
– Council for European Integrations of the Government of Serbia
– Committee for European integrations in the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia
– The EU Integrations office of the Government of the Republic of Serbia

To whom it may concern:

Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) supports the decision of the Serbian Government to submit the candidacy for membership of Serbia in the European Union. Clear dedication to European integrations, fulfilling all the conditions for joining EU, as well as full membership of Serbia in the EU have the greatest importance for all the citizens, by contributing to better quality of their lives and building responsible society where universal values, human rights and equal opportunities principle are respected.

In the process of fulfilling the conditions for membership in the EU, Serbia has a lot of work and numerous challenges ahead of it, and certainly one of the most important ones is reaching European standards in respecting human and minority rights. Hereby, the GSA would like to emphasize the position of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons in Serbia, as well as the need to introduce this issue in the agenda for joining EU, which would be seriously considered by state institutions and bodies.

The problems LGBT persons in Serbia encounter on daily basis, such as extremely high level of homophobia in all levels of society, violence, discrimination, hate speech and threats make them one of the most threatened minority groups, and the state can not and must not ignore these problems any longer as insignificant and inexistent social and political issue. We were able to see how important the LGBT issue is for Serbia at the time the Anti-discrimination Law was passed, when the GSA press conference was banned, and especially during the organization of this year’s Pride parade in Belgrade.

Gay Straight Alliance believes that the priorities in the process of social and political inclusion of LGBT persons and creating conditions for successful membership of Serbia in the EU refers mainly to:

  • Prevention and decrease of violence against LGBT persons
  • Implementation of the Anti-discrimination Law
  • Readiness of the state to initiate process of solving the status of LGBT population by using their constitutional and legal rights, one of which is the right to peaceful gathering
  • For the GSA, and LGBT movement as a whole, as well as for many partner organizations, the role of the state and its institutions in solving these and other priorities in reaching European standards in all areas is the most important and most responsible, but the civil sector and the experience of the organizations and associations in this area is extremely important as well.

Although so far the state has not approached the LGBT issues adequately, GSA wants to believe that in the process of European integrations it is possible to avoid certain politics, based on conditioning, as well as short-term state politics and decisions that exist only in paper but are not practically implemented. This can only be achieved if the LGBT issues in Serbia are addressed strategically and responsibly.

Therefore, Gay Straight Alliance calls state institutions and bodies of the Republic of Serbia to cooperate with the LGBT community and LGBT organizations in solving priority issues of the LGBT population, creating strategies for improving the status of LGBT individuals in Serbia and mechanisms for its implementation and reaching European standards in respecting rights of LGBT persons.

GSA hopes that governmental institutions have already recognized the importance of LGBT issues and that in upcoming period they plan to work seriously and strategically in reaching European standards in respecting human and minority rights, so that all citizens of Serbia, regarding of their differences and personal characteristics, could become citizens of the European Union.

Gay Straight Alliance

In Belgrade
December 23rd, 2009