One of the main mottos of the European Union is “United in diversity”, and it was repeated by the Deputy Ambassador of the European Union to Serbia, Plamena Halacheva, at the opening of the Conference on Human Rights on Thursday, September 7, as part of the Pride Week in Belgrade.

A few days before the Pride Parade itself, a conference on human rights, organized by the international organization Civil Right Defenders (CRD) is being held and the theme of the conference is the need for legal protection of trans, intersex and gender-variant communities.

In addition to the Deputy Ambassador, the first panel that opened the conference included the Ambassadors of Sweden Annika Ben David and Belgium Cathy Buggenhout, the United Nations coordinator in Serbia Francoise Jacob, as well as the Minister for Human and Minority Rights in the Government of Serbia, Tomislav Žigmanov.

Evaluating the level of LGBT+ rights in Serbia, Europe and the world, Deputy EU Ambassador Plamena Halacheva said that “we are not even close”.

“This year we mark the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It amazes me how much humanity has achieved in these three quarters of a century, and at the same time how little it has achieved when it comes to realizing the essential ambition of the Declaration – ensuring that all human beings, regardless of who they are, who they love, and how they see and define themselves, are born free and equal in dignity and rights,” said the Deputy EU Ambassador.

Halacheva pointed out that there are still 67 countries around the world that still criminalize homosexuality, 11 of which impose the death penalty for same-sex unions.

“The EU will continue to call on them to end it immediately, and we remain committed to working with all our partners to combat such discriminatory laws, policies and practices,” said Halacheva.

In 2020, the European Commission adopted the LGBTIQ Equality Strategy, showing its commitment to building a Union of Equality. Also, the EU is working to bring together member states and other actors at all levels in jointly solving discrimination against LGBT+ persons, ensuring their safety, building inclusive societies and insisting on equality around the world.

Minister Žigmanov underlined that the fight against stereotypes, prejudices and discrimination is not a one-hundred-meter race, but a marathon. This battle requires persistence, perseverance, understanding, dialogue and appreciation even when we disagree, Žigmanov noted.

“Legal norms, he added, further change social relations, attitudes, break prejudices and create conditions for further improvement. The processes have been started, the topics are open, they are not unknown and they are not invisible, and you have a partner in the Ministry”, Minister Žigmanov said.

The Ambassadors of Sweden and Belgium presented positive examples of the protection of human rights of LGBT+ persons in their respective countries.


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On the occasion of Belgrade Pride 2023, the embassies and representative offices of 25 countries and the Delegation of the European Union to Serbia issued a joint statement in which they emphasized their commitment to respecting, promoting and protecting human rights for all.

“We will continue to work with local LGBTIQ+ organizations to help this community take a legitimate place in society and ensure constructive debate when it comes to topics of equality, non-discrimination and human rights, including freedom of assembly and freedom of expression. These are universal rights. Regardless of where we are, who we are – or whom we love,” the joint statement of the embassies and representative offices states.