Within Reach. Making LGBTI rights a reality in South East Europe by 2020

This paper was composed by ILGA-Europe, on behalf of Sarajevo Open Centre, to inform decision-makers in both the EU and its accession countries in the Western Balkans about advocacy priorities regarding LGBTI issues in the region in the coming year.

The situation for LGBTI people is at a pivotal moment in most accession countries. Much has been achieved over the last years, mainly due to EU accession process, with key developments in anti-discrimination and hate crime legislation, respect for freedom of assembly and expression, and an increase in the number and capacity of LGBTI civil society organisations.

Yet much is left to be done to ensure the human rights of LGBTI persons in the region. This is a unique moment in time for taking the next steps. Governments in the region are keen to progress in order to join the EU, which provides an opportunity for the LGBTI movement to reach further to achieve several key aims, including effective implementation of existing legislation across urban and rural areas, promoting an enabling environment for civil society, and pushing for adoption of legal gender recognition and registered partnership for same sex couples.

This paper sets out the state of play and overarching policy aims for the region as a whole in the coming years, as well as shedding light on each country specifically. It wascomposed by ILGA-Europe, on behalf of Sarajevo Open Centre, to inform decision-makers in both the EU and accession countries about advocacy priorities regarding LGBTI issues in the coming years. The paper is based on interviews with and input from LGBTI organisations active in the region: ProLGBT (Albania), SOC and UNDP (Bosnia), CSGD (Kosovo*), Subversive Front and LGBT Support Center (‘The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia’), Queer Montenegro (Montenegro), Labris and Gayten (Serbia), ERA – LGBTI Equal Rights Association for the Western Balkans and Turkey, Civil Rights Defenders, Trans Network Balkan and TGEU (regional).

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