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BiH Ombudsmen Condemn the Attack on Association of Queer Activists of Banja Luka

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The Ombudsmen of BiH condemned the attack on the Association of Queer Activists of Banja Luka of March 29, 2014 and emphasized that the persons with different sexual orientation have the same guaranteed rights, including the righs to freedom of expression and assembly.

In the statement condemning the attack, the Ombudsmen noted that discrepancy between high normative standards – Bosnia and Herzegovina stands among the countries with strong legal protections for the rights of LGBT population – and the actual implementation of those rights.

The Ombudsmen invited all institutions of the Government to increase their capacity to timely respond to all forms of violence and physical assault on members of LGBT population.

In the attack of March 29, two masked youths committed the offense of intimidation and threats against security of members of the Association. At about 21:15 hours, they started banging on the windows of the offices of the Association of Queer Activists (it is a private apartment and residence of several members of the Association), and then climbed up the balcony and banged on the balcony door before they ran away.

The attack forced the Association of Queer Activists to cancel, citing security reasons, the planned activities to mark March 31, the International Day of Visibility of Transgender Persons and the promotion of ”Queer Re:Act”, ”Love, your children” and the digital stories of the Association Okvir which were scheduled to take place on April 1, 2014.

The Association stated that the attack reflected the real situation and position of LGBTIQ population in Banja Luka, but also in Bosnia and Herzegovina in general.

„The Association of Queer Activists wants to send a message that public silence won't protect anyone and we remind the authorities that they need to take active measures to ensure the respect for fundamental human rights and freedoms. We have the responsibility, individually and collectively, to condemn the open violations and threats against basic rights and to promote and defend diversity, regardless of sex, gender, social class, race, ethnic background. We believe that we all have equal rights to express, enjoy and exercise our freedoms without fear of violence, discrimination and oppression”, states the Banja Luka Association of Queer Activists in a statement for the media.

The Activists duly reported the incident to the Banja Luka Police. (Source: Buka.com/eTrafika.net)

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