No cultural, traditional or religious values can justify hate crimes against LGBT* people. Such was the basis of the third international forum for the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT), which was held in Montenegro and serves as a message to European governments. The event was organized by the Montenegrin government, which was represented by Deputy Prime Minister Dusko Markovic and Minister of Justice Zoran Pazin.
Representatives from the national LGBT* rights organization LGL attended the three-day discussion sessions in Budva along with researchers, activists from non-governmental organizations, and officials from the Council of Europe, the European Commission, the European Parliament, various European governments, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the United States and Canada. Participants sought to address hate crimes and violence against LGBT* people, which was the primary topic of the forum this year.
At the forum, LGL representatives presented the organization’s “Action Plan on the Non-Discrimination of LGBT* People, 2015-2020, Lithuania,” which was recently created to provide recommendations for upholding the principles of non-discrimination and full acceptance of LGBT* people in Lithuania, while also taking into account the community’s current status in the country.
The forum included over 10 events and attracted about 230 participants from all over the world; among them were Serbia’s Minister Jadranka Joksimović, Croatia’s Minister of Public Administration Arsen Bauk, Finland’s Minsiter of Justice Anna-Maja Henriksson, the Netherlands’ Minister of Education, Culture and Science Jet Bussemaker, Malta’s Minister of Social Dialogue and Civil Liberties Helena Dalli and Sweden’s Minister of Culture and Democracy Alice Bah Kuhnke.
South Africa, Italy, Slovenia, Slovakia, Albania, Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iceland, Luxembourg and international organizations such as the European Union, the Council of Europe and OSCE sent high-level delegates to the IDAHO forum.
Homophobic and transphobic incidents, so-called “corrective” rape, forced marriages, physical and emotional abuse, family and community rejection, bullying, and discrimination all remain sad parts of daily reality in Europe. To confront these crimes, structural legal measures and policies are needed.
In 2016, the IDAHO forum “Building Bridges and Creating Communities” will be held in Denmark.
We hope that the Lithuanian government will send its own delegates to this important international human rights event in the near future.