Human rights defenders are under attack in Serbia and the authorities are failing to protect them, Amnesty International said in a new report published this week.

Ahead of Belgrade Gay Pride this coming Sunday, the report looks at threats and attacks against those who defend the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.

Since 2001 the LGBT community in Serbia has been unable to hold a Pride Day parade due to serious threats by right-wing and religious organisations. Such organisations have already made unveiled threats against the organisers of this year’s parade.

Amnesty noted that attacks and threats are seldom promptly and impartially investigated by the authorities and few perpetrators are brought to justice due to a lack of politic will.

“The LGBT community is marginalised even within civil society and criminal investigations into assaults on LGBT people, even where the perpetrators have been identified, are rarely resolved,” said Sian Jones, Amnesty International’s Balkans expert.

“The Serbian authorities are obliged to protect the rights of all people to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression. They must condemn publicly all attacks on and threats to human rights activists, and provide protection and support during the forthcoming Belgrade Pride later this week.”

Amnesty International has called on the Serbian government to implement the principles of the UN Declaration of Human Rights Defenders, which provides a framework for the protection and support of activists. The organisation also calls on the embassies of EU member states to provide protection and support to LGBT activists in Serbia.

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