Step up! Stronger LGBT movements for equality in Western Balkans
In January 2010, ILGA-Europe started Step up! with the donor organisation Open Society Institute.
The project was finish in the start of 2013.
The project in short…
Step up! is building on the foundation and knowledge learned of the ILGA-Europe project called ‘Take Action! United against LGBT discrimination in Eastern Europe’ that was carried out between 2006 and 2009.
ILGA-Europe initiated the project due to a need of stronger LGBT organisations in the Western Balkans. A stronger LGBT movement on a national level in this region is vital to fight the increasing discrimination towards LGBT people in all parts of society.
The main goal for the project is to improve the legal and social situation of LGBT people in the Western Balkans.
Hate crimes and hate speech
Almost every public appearance of an organization and/or an individual activist in Western Balkan countries working on LGBT issues is followed by threats or actual violent attacks. There are reports of individual cases of violence, when the victims are targeted and attacked on the bases of their perceived sexual orientation and gender identity. However, most cases go unreported, mainly due to the lack of trust in police and the fear of being victimized. Read more about ILGA-Europe's work on hate crime here.
Violation of the right to freedom of assembly
Although freedom of assembly is guaranteed by law in all Western Balkan countries, this right is either not excised due to the existing climate of hostility in the countries or is denied by the local authorities. When LGBT people do take actions and try to exercise their fundamental rights of assembly and association, these attempts are met with hate speeches and violence. Read more about Freedom of Assembly here.
Indeed, discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity and expression is an everyday reality for LGBT people in all Western Balkan countries. Homophobic statements by the leading politicians and health care professionals further exacerbate and legitimize the widespread discrimination against LGBT people.
- Kontra (Croatia)
- Labris (Serbia)
- Aleanca (Albania)
- Juventas (Montenegro)
- Sarajevo Open Centre (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
The project consists of two main components:
Organisational management and leadership skills
Documentation, reporting and advocacy skills
Evidence Documentation and Advocacy
Documentation, monitoring and evidence based
Monitoring and advocacy at the European level.
- Documentation and monitoring of the human rights violations of LGBT people and production of reports on the documented evidence
- Advocacy and awareness raising campaigns
- Public actions, peaceful demonstrations if relevant and possible
- Legal counselling for LGBT people, support in litigations when relevant
- Awareness raising and educational sessions
- Study visits to European institutions
- Lobby meetings with European policy makers
If you have any questions about the project, then contact Lilit Poghosyan, Senior Programmes & Policy Officer.
Human Rights Violations Documentation and Advocacy training in Belgrade, Step Up! Project, April 2010
See pictures from the first training of the Step Up! project.
From 8-10th of April ILGA-Europe conducted a training on human rights monitoring and advocacy within the framework of our Step Up! project in the Western Balkans.
From 21-23 of June 8 members of our partner organisations from the Western Balkans participated in the training organised by ILGA-Europe within the framework of the Step Up! project.
On 24 and 25 of June, 10 LGBT activists from the Western Balkans and Turkey participated in the study visit organised by ILGA-Europe.
From 2-3 of October we conducted training on human rights monitoring and advocacy within the framework of our Step Up! project in the Western Balkans.
From 24 untill 27 January ILGA-Europe organised a study visit to the Council of Europe for 6 LGBT human rights defenders from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia who are partners in Step Up! Stronger LGBT movements for equality in the Western Balkans project.
On 28 March 2011 Juventas organised a conference Montenegro-a brighter spot on the LGBT map. Representatives from the government of Montenegro and the civil society as well as the EU Delegation in Montenegro and ILGA-Europe were invited to speak in the conference.
On 29-30 March 2011 ILGA-Europe conducted a training on Human Rights Violations Documentation and Advocacy with the representatives from Juventas and LGBT Forum Progress, the two organisations working on LGBT issues in Montenegro.
EU study visit and Strategic Litigation Training for LGBT human rights defenders from the Western Balkans and Turkey, 10-14 May, 2011
On 10-14 May, 2011 ILGA-Europe organised a study visit to EU institutions and a training on Strategic Litigations for 9 LGBT human rights defenders from the Western Balkans and Turkey.
Read more and find pictures of the study visit and the training here
On 2-6 October ILGA-Europe organsied a study visit for 10 activists from the Western Balkans and Russia to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and to Campaign Against Homophobia (KPH) - the leading LGBT organisation in Poland. The study visit was organised within the framework Step Up! project and Russian EIDHR project.
On 23 and 24 March ILGA-Europe supported the team of Alliance Against LGBT Discrimination (Aleanca)-LGBT organisation based in Tirana, Albania- to devise their 3 year organisational Strategic Plan. Aleanca is a member of ILGA-Europe and partner in Step Up project.
On 27 and 28 March, ILGA-Europe conducted a training session on Human Rights Violations Documentation and Advocacy with Step Up project’s partner organisation in Bosnia & Herzegovina - Sarajevo Open Centre.
On 23-25 May 2012 ILGA-Europe organised a study visit to EU institutions for 9 LGBT activists from Western Balkans and Turkey.
Developed in February 2013