U.S. and EU ambassadors visited GSA and talked with activists

Belgrade, 08.04.2014.

After the threats that were addressed to the Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA; Alliance), this organization is visited today by the U.S. Ambassador in Belgrade, H.E. Michael Kirby, and the Head of EU Delegation in Serbia, H.E. Michael Davenport. During the talk with activists from GSA both ambassadors expressed their condemnation of the brutal death threats that were recently addressed to the members and leadership of the Alliance as well as the expectation that the institutions would quickly investigate the case and identify the perpetrators as well as the motive of these threats.


After the meeting which was held at the GSA office, Ambassador Kirby told the media that he was visiting GSA to express support of the U.S. Embassy and the U.S. government to this organization and to condemn the death threats against the GSA and its members. “We talked to activists of GSA about what had happened. We will continue to support the work of human rights defenders of LGBT rights, which for us represent the basic human rights”, emphasized the ambassador Kirby. He also welcomed Branko Ruzic’s (minister without portfolio responsible for European integration in a technical government) reaction and condemnation of the threats towards the Alliance, and noted that the U.S. Embassy has contacts and discussions with the Government of Serbia regarding all matters, including these threats.

Head of EU Delegation in Serbia, Michael Davenport, condemned “truly horrible death threats” that were sent to GSA and expressed the support of the EU Delegation to this organization. “We believe that such behavior is unacceptable in any democratic society and that institutions should behave seriously in these situations”, said ambassador Davenport and added, “We also talked with GSA activists about their future plans and activities. We were informed by the GSA that they have had contact with police and prosecutor’s office, and we want to say that it is very important to seriously investigate the background of these threats.” He also welcomed the condemnation of the threats sent by the Minister Ruzic and said that it is a positive act.

Lazar Pavlovic, president of the GSA, said that today’s visit of the U.S. Ambassador and the Head of EU Delegation Alliance sees as an expression of their support and concern for the safety of members of the GSA. “We are very grateful to them for this visit because it, especially at this time, means a lot to all the members of GSA”, he added, stressing that this is the first time that GSA has received this kind of brutal threats. “So far we’ve been getting mostly various insults against LGBT people and our organization through social networks or email, but something like this death threats never happend before. GSA’s not sure how to interpret why the threats are happening right now, and why they were sent to our organization, but we primarily expect that state institutions will respond to these issues, as well that the investigation that began last week will lead to results as soon as possible; and that who made threats be found and brought to justice”, concluded Pavlovic.

When one of the journalists asked about the Pride Parade, Ambassador Michael Kirby said that he would like to attend this event if it is to be held, and believes that everyone should participate in the Pride Parade, no matter gay or straight, to show support for the human rights. Ambassador Davenport said it is important to maintain Pride Parade and that all people should be free to express their opinion on any subject. He added that the authorities should create the framework for the maintenance of this event.

We remind that the last week through organization’s email, GSA received two very similar threatening messages which contain explicit calls for the killing and slaughtering of the members and leadership of the Alliance. In this messages GSA is threatened by death and calls to “cleansing” Serbia from this organization. Also, about a month ago the Alliance received a death threat over its SOS phone line.

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