LGBT Forum Progress filed 220 charges for hate speech against LGBTI people to the Police Directorate of Montenegro, between October 7th and 14th. Hate speech was detected in public comments on Facebook, by our Team for monitoring hate speech online, which has been operational for nearly a decade.
Period which was covered by this round of monitoring was from between mid-September to mid-October 2022, that is, it covered events related to EuroPride in Belgrade, Montenegro Pride in Podgorica, part of the pre-election campaign for local elections in several municipalities in Montenegro, as well as different media releases related to the LGBTI community (publication of “Theatre of Justice: the Truth Behind Reality”, interview of John M. Barac for MINA Agency, text by Zdravko Cimbaljević, etc.).
As the only civil society organisation which, in this way, conducts systematic monitoring and reporting of hate speech in our country, we again point out the extremely serious problem of hate speech targeting LGBTI people i Montenegro and the absence of adequate mechanisms of systemic protection for LGBTI persons, which are daily targeted by hate, discrimination, and violence. “ All considerations […] point to a wide and almost complete absence of evidence on the actual situation of LGBTI persons in Montenegro. There are no statistics in relation to LGBTI persons generated by the state. The state statistics system is in no way designed to collect data on the LGBTI community” (Theatre of Justice: the Truth Behind Reality, pg. 12).
The fact that there is no state statistics on needs and issues of LGBTI persons in Montenegro still disables the creation of public policies which could, in a meaningful and purposeful way, respond to what is the reality of life of the LGBTI community in Montenegro, which results in a situation of dysfunctional and nearly meaningless public policies. “Over time, significant attention in the world has been devoted to documenting negative attitudes and behaviours directed towards LGBTI people. Research shows that prejudice and discrimination against LGBTI people are widespread and have negative consequences for the “physical and psychological well-being of members of sexual and gender minorities” 28 (Morrison et al. 2019: 549)” (Theatre of Justice: the Truth Behind Reality, pg. 27).
We urge the decision makers and all relevant institutional actors in Montenegro to, as soon as possible, fully use, and then improve on, available legal mechanisms of combating hate speech and discrimination against LGBTI persons and all other marginalised groups, and to show determination and responsibility in protecting human rights of all citizens.
This activity is realised through the project “Jačanje nacionalnog odgovora na zločine iz mržnje, govor mržnje i diskriminaciju LGBTIQ osoba”*, which is funded by the Ministry of Justice, Human and Minority Rights of Montenegro. The views expressed in the text do not reflect the views of the Ministry as a donor.
*“Strengthening of the national response to hate crimes, hate speech, and discrimination of LGBTIQ persons”