LGBTI Equal Rights Association for Western Balkans and Turkey

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Justice and equality must prevail

11 Aug

ERA’s Statement to condemn the LGBTI-phobic hate crime in North Macedonia 
We condemn the physical assault against Bekim Asani, president of LGBTI United, and call on the authorities to timely identify and prosecute the perpetrator of this homophobic hate crime. 
We further condemn the slow response by the police, which led to a second attack the next day. The same perpetrator who attacked Asani now physically attacked two other LGBTI+ activists. This is yet another example that the culture of impunity for LGBTI-phobic violence leads to more violence. 
Asani informed that the attack against him, which is the second this year, took place during an awareness-raising activity in the main square in Strumica. According to him, the organisation asked for police protection of the event, which was not provided. The police are to serve and protect all citizens regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and sex characteristics. Thus, we call on the Ministry of Interior to elaborate on how they have made the assessment and the decision not to secure this event. 
Asani further informed that he was exposed to discrimination at the police station where he reported the case. This kind of behaviour by state officials significantly contributes to a distrust in the institutions and an increase in violence and must not be tolerated. The police must be a safe space for all victims of violence and not a source of further hostility. We strongly condemn this behaviour and call on the Unit for Internal Control at the Ministry of Interior to investigate this case thoroughly and take adequate actions against the officers in question.
We express our solidarity with Bekim Asani, the other survivors of violence and all the LGBTI people in North Macedonia. We condemn all forms of discrimination, violence and ill-treatment against our community, and we call on the institutions for prompt response in identifying and prosecuting perpetrators. Justice and equality must prevail for all people of North Macedonia.

Country - Macedonia
Tags - Access to Justice / hate crime / Homophobia / LGBTI-phobia / Violence /