Coalition For the Fight Against Hate Speech and Hate Crimes harshly condemns attacks motivated by hatred on the LGBTI community and urges the authorities to investigate and prosecute perpetrators. In addition, members of the coalition point out that the hate speech preceding these attacks must be investigated and strongly condemned by local institutions.
On Friday, 5th of, a girl, a member of the LGBTI community, was attacked while walking along the street in the central part of Sarajevo. This attack took place after the attacker threatened her and her girlfriend because of their non-heteronormative appearance and the fact that the first Bosnian-Herzegovinian (BiH) Pride March was announced. A middle-aged man first approached two girls in the night between the 3rd and 4th of April, telling them that they should not hold hands and threaten to attack them with a knife. Then he threatened to make attack on the Pride March, saying it he insulting his religious convictions. On Friday, about 2 pm, less than two days after the first incident, the same man got out of his car with his friend, while these two girls stood in front of the shopping center, and then he hit one of them so much that she fell to the ground. Then two men started running for the other girl, who managed to escape from the attackers. It is clear that this attack is the result of a harsh debate about the announcement of the first Pride March in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Members of the Coalition for the Fight against Hate Speech and Hate Crimes consider that crimes committed by hate and prejudice, which are regulated by the FBiH Criminal Code, must not be tolerated and ignored, and strongly urge local authorities and competent institutions to investigate and prosecute attackers.
Coalition members also urge the media and local institutions to condemn the incitement and spread of hatred in the Bosnian public. Members of the LGBTI community have the right to live without fear of being attacked because of their identity and our country’s obligation is to provide this protection.
The Coalition gathers ten NGOs that have been active for years in promoting and protecting human rights:
Association for Democratic Initiatives
Youth Centre KVART
Civil Rights Defenders
Foundation Mediacentar Sarajevo
Foundation Truth, Justice, Reconciliation
Youth Initiative for Human Rights Bosnia and Herzegovina
Youth News Association in BiH (ONA)
Sarajevo Open Centre
Association BH Journalists
Press Council BiH