On 13 February a few activists for human rights of LGBTI persons gathered in front of the Croatian Embassy in Sarajevo with the intention to express support for persons injured in the homophobic and transphobic attack in the Zagreb club Super Super.
Wishing to emphasize the risk of hate crimes towards LGBTI persons, the activists carried banners saying „Today Zagreb, tomorrow Sarajevo. Stop violence“!
The veracity of this warning showed 24 hours later when, on 14 February, the activists of the Association for Social Research and Communications (UDIK) were attacked, near the BiH Parliamentary Assembly building. The attackers, by passing insults and threats to the activists and throwing stones at them, announced very clearly the homophobic character of the attack, and, as expected, there lacked any reaction from the citizens who were on the scene.
The Coalition for the fight against hate speech and hate crimes strongly condemns the homophobic attack on UDIK activists, and warns that the practice of not processing the attacks on LGBTI persons, activists that we witness since 2008 until this day is a shame for the BiH institutions, and should be stopped. We ask the police and judiciary of Canton Sarajevo to, in an adequate and timely manner, react, investigate and process this hate crime, threats and attacks on LGBTI activists that have already been reported during 2015 and 2016, and, before that, the attack on Merlinka Festival in 2014.
We ask the institutions that deal with protection of human rights and from the representatives of the authorities in BiH to publically condemn every homophobic and transphobic attack, as well as take concrete measures to fight homophobic and transphobic violence.
The Coalition for the fight against hate speech and hate crimes and other civil society organisations will continue their work on the fight against violations of human rights of all citizens of BiH, on education of police officers and members of the judiciary, with the aim to investigate hate crimes with higher quality, as well as on monitoring and warning about defects in the work of relevant authorities.
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