Human Rights
Vuk Raičević about this year's Belgrade Pride Parade

Small successes and further challenges
Belgrade Pride Parade 2021
Belgrade Pride Parade, 2021 © Vuk Raičević

We asked Vuk Raičević, Legal Officer at the Belgrade Centre for Human Rights, three questions regarding this year's Belgrade Pride Parade, after last year's event had to be held completely online due to the COVID pandemic.

Has Belgrade Pride – thinking about those held in 2019 and this year, as last year's did not take place due to the pandemic – become safer than in previous years? According to research by the Civil Rights Defenders organisation, two thirds of citizens support the right to hold a Pride Parade in Belgrade - how do you look at it?

Belgrade Pride is getting safer every year and the fact that, according to CRD* research, two thirds of citizens support the right to hold the Pride Parade, clearly illustrates the fact that people have realised that Pride does not pose any "threat" or endanger our society, but is one of its components. Security at Pride should not be in question in a European society, such as Serbia, and I expect that in the future it will cease to be a potential problem.

With the slogan "Love is the Law", the Belgrade Pride organisers and participants pointed out that their key demands this year related to the adoption of the Law on Same-Sex Communities. In your opinion, what is the main obstacle to the adoption of that law?

The main obstacle to the adoption of this law remains the lack of clear political will to unequivocally adopt human rights standards confirmed by the European Court of Human Rights and other international human rights mechanisms. Most European countries have legally regulated same-sex unions. Serbia is behind in that and I hope that it will soon be among the countries that have comprehensively resolved this issue, which includes our neighbours Croatia and Montenegro.

This year the Minister for Human and Minority Rights and Social Dialogue, Gordana Čomić, attended Pride. In previous years, the Prime Minister, Ana Brnabić, has always attended as well. Do you perceive the participation of high Government representatives as support, or is it rather symbolic politics from your point of view?

The participation of state representatives at Pride is always welcome. However, this support needs to be reflected in concrete moves in the field of improving the position of LGBTQI + people. This is especially important in the area of legislative and public policy reforms, where it implies the adoption of regulations that we lack, such as the Law on Same-Sex Communities, but also the Law on Gender Identity or the new Strategy for Prevention and Protection against Discrimination, which we have awaiting for almost three years.

*CRD Survey: When asked "Do you support the right of the LGBTQI + community to organise peaceful marches through the capital", 61% of respondents answered "Yes", while 32% answered "No", and 7% of respondents said "I don't know".