The introductory text for 2014 GSA Annual Report on the Status of Human Rights of LGBT Persons in Serbia
Jadranka Joksimović, Minister without portfolio responsible for European integration in the Government of Serbia
The Republic of Serbia is a state of Serbian people and all citizens who live in it, based on the rule of law and social justice, principles of civil democracy, human and minority rights and freedoms and commitment to European principles and values. This is the first article of the Constitution of the Republic of Serbia, which lays the foundations of the rule of human rights and equality for all our citizens, and we must never forget it.
Any difference, including sexual orientation and gender identity, should not be a pretext for discrimination, and on this basis, this question goes beyond the framework of minority communities and affects all of us. I strongly believe that all people, regardless of their sexual orientation and gender identity, deserve equal rights and it should not be called into question.
Although worldwide minority groups, including the LGBTI community, face various forms of violence and discrimination because of their identity, the Republic of Serbia as a modern country must not allow herself that.
Today our society is faced with numerous problems whose solving may deserve higher priority, but this does not diminish the necessity and importance of providing continuous protection and promotion of human rights in society.
By holding the Pride Parade we have proved that we, as a society, are able to enable the expression of differences, and that we are willing to accept someone’s diversity.
The Pride Parade that was held in 2014 in Belgrade, and for the first time passed without major incident, is yet another indication that the Government of RS is serious and, above all, responsible in its intent to protect all minority groups and thereby fulfill its obligations as a state. However, although the Pride Parade is an event that is widely followed in the public and local media, it is an event that takes place once a year and as such we should view it as just one of a number of very important steps in the creation of conditions for the full respect of rights of the LGBT community.
We have witnessed in previous years that Serbia has not stagnated in this matter, but has passed a law prohibiting discrimination, which insists on respect for the principle of equality, and thus proved that it can be implemented in practice. Therefore, all this once again presents Serbia as a modern country in which no citizen is, and should be, denied the freedom of assembly, freedom of speech, or any other basic human right guaranteed by the Constitution.
This shows that the RS Government has a strong political will and determination to devote itself to creating a favorable social climate, in order to make sure, once and for all, that the idea of full inclusion of members of the LGBTI community in society becomes a reality.