SLAVERY OF THE 21st CENTURY AND THE CONSEQUENCES OF INSTITUTIONALISED HOMOPHOBIA

Nongovernmental organization LGBT Forum Progress received a request for legal aid and protection by its member of many years, regarding the case which lasted between September 2017 and January 2018. According to the young man, in the mentioned period he has faced continuous illegal imprisonment, sexual abuse, starvation and everyday death threats and abuse.

According to the young man, the case begins in September 2017, when the first contact happened with certain E.G. from Kosovo, via the social network „Facebook“. After the initial, pleasant communication, the young man agrees to have a date with E.G. in Podgorica. After they got acquainted and spent some time together, E.G. proposed to the young man to go to a field trip to Pec/Peja, Kosovo, in order to spend some more time together, and to get to know each other even better. After they took the trip, the situation took an almost unbelievable turn.

Namely, according to the young man, on the very road to Pec/Peja, E.G. physically assaulted him, forcing him to ingest pills of unknown content and origin. The young man lost his consciousness shortly after, and woke up the next day in an apartment in Pec/Peja, unknown to him. In this period, the perpetrator E.G. reveals+ed to him that the young man is in his imprisonment, and that he will have to do whatever is asked of him, under death threats. The young man was then transported to Djakovica/Gjakova, to a rented apartment, in which he was imprisoned and was forced to remain within the period of almost five months. During this period, E.G. regularly visited his victim, while physically and sexually abusing him, inflicting injuries with a knife in the chest and stomach area, all while starving him and denying his freedom of movement. According to the young man, E.G. also owned a gun, with which he threatened him, and he has also threatened him that he will drown him in a nearby river. The young man, aware of the severity of the situation, as well as the severity and the potential realization of the threats was forced to oblige, due to the fear of losing his own life.

In January 2018, as stated by the young man, according to the report made by the neighbors of the rented apartment, the Kosovo police force broke into the apartment and takes the young man to the police station in order to take a written report on the whole situation. However, the situation takes another, unbelievable twist, due to the fact that, as stated by the young man, once the police officers were in the process of taking the statement, when they realized that he was a member of the LGBTI community, they also have physically assaulted him. Four police officers inflicted physical trauma to the young man, while laughing, and have declined to register the report and consider the case itself. They have beaten the young mane by using open and closed (clenched) fists, and he received blows in the area of the head, abdomen and chest area.

After he left the police station, the young man used the opportunity to flee, and to return to Montenegro, where he asked the help of the nongovernmental organization LGBT Forum Progress. Legal and psycho-social aid were provided immediately and quality-based and thorough communication was established with the Montenegrin Police Directorate, through the contact police officer for the communication with the LGBTIQ community.

The President of LGBT Forum Progress, Bojana Jokic, stated: ”As one of the most severe and most demanding cases ever dealt by LGBT Forum Progress, the case has several elements and parts. The first, most obvious one, is the case of several combined criminal deeds, applicable both in Montenegro and Kosovo, which represent a serious breach of numerous internationally recognized documents such as the European Convention on the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, as well as the Convention on the prevention of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. It is an unbelievable fact that today, in the 21st century, we are facing obvious and serious examples of slavery. The second, equally important aspect of the case is an enormous problem of institutional homophobia, which is given on an example of the Kosovo police officers, which refused to protect the young man, and have additionally degraded him, and physically abused him due to his ethnic background and the fact that he is a member of the LGBTIQ community”.

LGBT Forum Progress is satisfied with the communication established with the Montenegrin Police directorate, which shared with us the fact that the case is being taken seriously, and that the communication with the Interpol has already been established, as well as they are working towards the resolution of the case and capturing of the perpetrator. LGBT Forum Progress will continue providing legal and psycho-social support to the young man, and will timely notify the Montenegrin public on the results of the police actions in this case.

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(Crnogorski) Publikacija “Nasilje nad LGBTIQ osobama i rodno zasnovano nasilje u Crnoj Gori – primjeri iz prakse”

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“DIKA“ AWARDED TO MINISTRY OF HUMAN AND MINORITY RIGHTS, MARUNOVIC AND CIMBALJEVIC

NGO LGBT Forum Progres, in cooperation with its partners NGO LGBTIQ Social Center and NGO Hiperion, presented the “Dika” award for 2016, on the occasion of the International Human Rights Day. As a reminder, “Dika” was established in May of this year, as a social recognition for contribution to the visibility of LGBTIQ persons in Montenegro.

This year, “Dika” award was given to:
1. Ministry of Human and Minority Rights of Montenegro, in the category “Acknowledgement for the institution/organization/collective”,
2. Danilo Marunovic, film director, in the category “Acknowledgement for an individual”, and
3. Zdravko Cimbaljevic, LGBTIQ activist, in the category of “Special Acknowledgement”.

In the category “Acknowledgment for the institution/organization/collective”, five organizations/institutions were nominated – the Ministry of Human and Minority Rights, Human Rights Action – HRA, Queer Montenegro, the Office of the Protector of Human Rights and Freedoms of Montenegro, and Civic Alliance.
Based on the majority of nominations, as well as on the great support that Ministry gave to the LGBTIQ community in Montenegro, it was decided that “Dika” award for 2016 will go to this Institution. On behalf of the Ministry of Human and Minority Rights, the award was received by Mrs. Blanka Radosevic Marovic, the Director of the Directorate for Promotion and Protection of Human Rights and Freedoms.

In the category “Acknowledgement for an individual” the nomenees were: film director Danilo Marunovic, LGBTIQ activist Zdravko Cimbaljevic, Minister Mehmed Zenk,a and Svetlana Jovanovic, a mother of an LGBTIQ person.
The nominations in this category were numerous, and most of them were given to film director Danilo Marunovic, whose work was recognized as very important in the field of promotion of human rights and equality of LGBTIQ persons, and therefore the “Dika” award was given to him. His unselfish contribution is reflected in several achievements that have LGBTIQ themes, or in some way depict the reality and problems of LGBTIQ people in Montenegro.

The winner in the category of “Special Acknowledgement” was selected by the votes of the decision-making bodies in the organizations that established the “Dika” award, and this recognition was unanimously given to Zdravko Cimbaljevic, as he was the first publicly gay man in Montenegro, and a sort of a founder of the LGBTIQ movement in our country. Zdravko is recognized throughout the world as an outstanding human rights and equality defender of LGBTIQ people, who continues his work despite all the obstacles, and is actively providing support to the Montenegrin LGBTIQ community from Canada.

Although the receiving ceremony of the award “Dika” was initially announced for June 28th, due to small number of nominations, it was postponed for the end of the year. Meanwhile, non-governmental organisations LGBT Forum Progres, LGBTIQ Social Center and Hiperion actively collected nominations for the prize, and, in the end, they collected a total of 135. Nominations that were received for organisations that established the “Dika” award and for their active members did not come into consideration.

“I would like to use this opportunity and, on behalf of all three organisations, thank everyone who sent their nominations and everyone who patiently waited for the final results. We are very proud of both the number of nominations and of all the winners. Considering that this was the first year of the award, we did not know what the public reaction would be. We are happy that all those who contributed throughout their work towards the visibility of LGBTIQ people have been acknowledged, and we congratulate them once again.. We hope that there will be more nominations next year, that there will be more people who promote equality and acceptance of LGBTIQ people through their work, and that “Dika” will become recognized as a valuable prize.” said John Barac, Executive Director of LGBT Forum Progres.

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(Crnogorski) PRAVOSLAVNI SVEŠTENIK – PROFESOR BOGOSLOVIJE, KROZ AUTORSKI TEKST, PRUŽIO PODRŠKU LGBTIQ ZAJEDNICI U CRNOJ GORI

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CONDEMNATION OF HOMOPHOBIA, MISOGYNY AND SEXISM IN THE CAMPAIGN OF DEMOCRATS OF MONTENEGRO

As the President of LGBT Forum Progress, I use this opportunity to publicly react and condemn the homophobia, misogyny and sexism that are all-present in the media campaigns of the political subject “Democrats of Montenegro”. Democrats of Montenegro have, in the recent period, launched several videos in the public, as a part of their political campaign, which contain clear elements of discrimination and degradation of women.

One of those videos contains elements of homophobia, which negatively characterise LGBTIQ persons, and describes gay men in an offensive way. The scene from that video, in which two individuals – a partisan and a četnik (chetnik) – discuss different identities in the Montenegrin society, contains, among other, words “Peder je!” (He is a fag) and “Nije peder!” (He isn’t a fag) in the context of something bad and places the identity of gay men in the same basket as ideologies, which has absolutely nothing to do with one another. What makes this additionally problematic is the fact that, through this video, LGBTIQ individuals are equated with “četnici” (chetniks), which additionally creates negative perception among the Montenegrin public and fuels already existing homophobia. A serious and democratic political subject such as Democrats of Montenegro cannot allow itself to use the terms such as “peder” (fag), which have extremely negative and bad meaning in Montenegrin society.

Additionally, in another two videos the elements of misogyny and sexism are clearly demonstrated, as well as placing women in a subordinate and insignificant position. The videos themselves show the leader of the Democrats talking to the “man of the house” while in the background the “housewife” can be clearly seen washing the dishes, with her face never being shown, reducing her to a mere object. This representation of a woman and the role of women in a household is decades away from the values of modern Montenegro and a democratic society that is striving towards Europe.

Finally, in the fourth video, the leader of Democrats is speaking of a woman who gave birth to triplets, and referred to her childbirth as a “measure of patriotism towards her country”. I repeat that this representation of women, as “objects for childbirth”, is a big step backwards and a completely misogynous statement from a leader of a political party. The promotion of machismo and sexism in this way only widens the gap between women and men and feed the existing prejudice.

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As a woman, a feminist, and a human rights defender, I have to say that I am deeply disturbed by this display of homophobia, discrimination, misogyny, and sexism that originated from the Democrats of Montenegro. The abuse of LGBTIQ persons and the degradation of women cannot have their place and a pass in the public and political dialogue in Montenegro, and these kinds of behaviours and actions mush have adequate sanctions, no matter who perpetrated them. LGBT Forum Progress has, in the past, warned about the negative use of the LGBTIQ community in the dialogue of some political subjects, but what is happening now is a significant problem for the whole society.

We call for the Democrats of Montenegro to withdraw from public all discriminatory and misogynous videos, not to use them anymore, and to issue a public apology to the LGBTIQ community and all women in Montenegro. We hope that other LGBTIQ and women’s organisations in Montenegro will join in this appeal.

Bojana Jokić, President
LGBT Forum Progress

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(Crnogorski) ODRŽANA NACIONALNA KONFERENCIJA O PREVENCIJI NASILJA

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203 CHARGES FILED FOR HATE SPEECH, DISCRIMINATION, AND VERBAL VIOLENCE ON SOCIAL MEDIA

 Non-governmental organisation LGBT Forum Progress, as a part of its regular activities covered by the project “Standing together – enhancement of protection of violence victims”, which is implemented in partnership with non-governmental organisation Women’s Right Center, and with the direct support of the U.S. Embassy in Podgorica, continues with monitoring of hate speech, discrimination and verbal violence directed at LGBTIQ individuals on the Internet. Team for monitoring of hate speech and verbal violence, which has been actively involved in this topic for several years, has formed 203 charges, against 206 individuals, for comments made on social media, which called for violence, threatened LGBTIQ individuals, qualified them in negative ways, etc. All of the reported cases have been registered on the day of the Pride Parade “Montenegro Pride” in Podgorica, on September 23.

All the charges have been formed based on comments that have been made on Facebook, under the public posts of numerous media sources, that have been related to the Pride and its course. From the total number of charges, that have been filed today to the Police Directorate in Podgorica, more than 2/3 of them contains direct and explicit threats towards LGBTIQ individuals, more than 1/3 classifies LGBTIQ individuals as “sick” and “abnormal”, while over 30 of them uses derogatory terms for gay men. Additionally, in five cases Hitler is mentioned, and in 3 cases Putin and Russia. A significant number of charges contains statements related to natural disasters, such as hurricanes, tsunamis, volcanoes, etc. Finally, there was a mention of nuclear weapons and North Korea, as some of the ways of “damaging” the LGBTIQ community.

“This year, unlike 2016 or 2015, we have noticed a significant increase in the number of negative comments, as well as comments that contain direct and open threats towards LGBTIQ individuals. According to our data, this strong and aggressive behaviour of individuals on the Internet and social media has not been marked since the first Prides in 2013, when the level of physical violence was very high as well.

What has been noticed during the partial analysis of several thousands, if not tens of thousands of comments on social media related to the Pride is that anger and hatred are two emotions that have been predominant. What surprised us was the fact that, following this Pride, a significant increase was noticed in the number of women who posted negative and threatening comments.

I would like to emphasise that we are very concerned with this increase in violent and threatening comments on social media, and that we hope that verbal violence will not transfer from the Internet onto the streets of our cities, and thus make the lives of LGBTIQ individuals in Montenegro even harder.” – Bojana Jokić, President.

LGBT Forum Progress will, in the future, continue to intensively monitor social media, in the part that is related to spreading of hate speech, discrimination, and verbal violence towards LGBTIQ community. Additionally, we will timely report such cases to relevant institutions, for their adequate processing. We invite all LGBTIQ individuals who have experienced verbal, psychological, or physical violence to contact LGBT Forum Progress for help and support, by sending an email at info@lgbtprogres.me or through our Facebook profile, in order to be given proper support and legal aid.

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