Serbian Prime Minister's Ban on Belgrade Pride Violates Constitutional Protection of Freedom of Expression

Press Release
October 3, 2012

Serbian Prime Minister's Ban on Belgrade Pride Violates Constitutional Protection of Freedom of Expression

"Banning of the 2012 Belgrade Pride March is a victory for prejudice and a sorry defeat for human rights"

Contact: Carolyn Lang, clang@aiusa.org, (202)675-8761

(Washington, D.C.) -- The decision by Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic to ban Belgrade’s Pride March for the second year in a row puts the country in breach of its own law and constitution, Amnesty International said.

“By banning the 2012 Belgrade Pride Serbia’s government is effectively going against its own legal and constitutional protections for basic rights such as freedom of expression and freedom of assembly to all lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in Serbia,” said Amnesty International’s director for Europe and Central Asia John Dalhuisen.

Explaining the reasons for the second ban of the event in so many years, Prime Minister Dacic – who is also minister of the interior - cited alleged serious security concerns, protection of human lives and preservation of public peace and order.

“It is the government’s job - its obligation - to ensure that peaceful gatherings such as the Belgrade Pride can go ahead without unlawful interference. Sadly, it appears that this new government lacks the political will to guarantee such rights,” added Dalhuisen. “The banning of the 2012 Belgrade Pride is a victory for prejudice and a sorry defeat for human rights and common decency.”

The march, due to take place on Saturday, was banned after the head of Serbia’s Christian Orthodox Church, politicians from the ruling coalition and extremist organizations intervened urging the Pride to be outlawed.

Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 3 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.