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Ludford: Belgrade Pride ban harms Serbia's EU bid

October 4, 2012 9:59 PM

Liberal Democrat European justice & human rights spokeswoman and London MEP Sarah Ludford has condemned the banning of Belgrade Pride for the second year running. Serbia's Interior Ministry announced today that they would ban this year's Pride, claiming concerns over public safety following threats of violence and intimidation from some groups. The move has sparked condemnation from UN Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay who has urged Serbia to facilitate the rescheduling of Pride rather than preventing its members from exercising their fundamental freedoms.

Sarah Ludford MEP commented:

"As Vice President of LGBT+ Liberal Democrats and a strong supporter of equal gay rights, I'm extremely disappointed by the totally unwarranted cancellation of Belgrade Pride. Yet again the voice of hatred and discrimination has won out over those wishing to exercise their European right to freedom of expression.

"The Serbian authorities should not cave in to extremist homophobic bullies. On the contrary, they have a duty to ensure that Belgrade Pride goes ahead and that participants are protected from violence or harassment.

"Brussels, and especially MEPs, are watching this closely. Serbia's EU accession process will get seriously derailed unless real progress on equality and human rights is visibly achieved. Today is not a good one in that respect."