Press Release From The Coalition For The Combating Hate Speech And Hate Crime: 2014 Attack on the Merlinka Festival in Sarajevo, 2019 Threats Towards Merlinka Festival in Tuzla

Posters, which call upon citizens of Tuzla to protest “against opening and holding of a disgusting and immoral Queer Fest” in front of the Atelier Ismet Mujezinović, were posted on several city locations, right before the opening of the 5th Queer Festival Merlinka in Tuzla. Today, on the day of the opening of Merlinka, on the wall of the art studio, an unknown person wrote a homophobic graffiti “Faggots, get a treatment!”

The Coalition for Combating Hate Speech and Hate Crime harshly condemns the homophobic graffiti and asks the police and the judiciary of the Tuzla Canton to adequately react, investigate and prosecute this criminal offense and define such offenses as bias-motivated crimes.

Also, we demand from the institutions for the protection of human rights in BiH and the representatives of the authorities,  to publicly condemn every homophobic and transphobic graffiti/attack, as well as to take concrete measures to combat homophobic and transphobic violence, and to adequately protect organizers and participants of the Merlinka Festival in Tuzla.

Please note that although one of the first associations for ‘hate crime’ is physical violence and/or murder, the term includes a wider range of different crimes, such as: damaging someone else’s property, robbery, stealing, blackmail, intimidation, threatening, writing threatening graffiti, harassment, sexual assault, causing bodily harm, murder and many other crimes that are prohibited by the criminal laws of BiH, its entities and the Brčko District.

Members of the Coalition for the Fight against Hate Speech and Hate Crimes:

Asocijacija za demokratske inicijative from Sarajevo
Centar za mlade KVART from Prijedor
Civil Rights Defenders from Sarajevo
Fondacija CURE from Sarajevo
Fondacija Mediacentar Sarajevo from Sarajevo
Inicijativa mladih za ljudska prava Bosne i Hercegovine from Sarajevo
Otaharin from Bijeljina
Omladinska novinska asocijacija u BiH (ONA) from Sarajevo
Sarajevski otvoreni centar from Sarajevo
Udruženje BH novinari from Sarajevo
Vijeće za štampu BiH from Sarajevo

Tuzlanski otvoreni centar from Tuzla