Members of the European Parliament condemn the attack at the opening of the Sarajevo Queer Festival

Press release from the Intergroup on Gay and Lesbian Rights of the European Parliament

25 September 2008

For immediate release

“Members of the European Parliament condemn the attack at the opening of the Sarajevo Queer Festival.”

Yesterday the opening of the Sarajevo Queer Festival was brutally attacked and 6 people had to be taken to hospital. The festival is a first of its kind organised in Bosnia-Herzegovina, but unfortunately it has caused negative tensions in the society. Many extremist groupSeand politicians have openly called for violence against homosexual and transgender people.

“We strongly condemn the attacks against the Sarajevo Queer Festival. It is a cowardly behaviour to challenge the views one disagrees with by violence”, said Michael Cashman, President of the Intergroup. “I also need to point out that Bosnia-Herzegovina wants to become a member of the European Union and the country should clearly show that it is ready for membership. AuthoritieSeand society at large must show that they can respect the rights of gays, lesbians, bisexual and transgender people not just in law, but also in practice. Respect for Human rights is at the heart of EU membership”

Sirpa Pietik inen, Vice-President of the Intergroup for the EPP-ED added, “ReligiouSeand political leaders should be aware that the violence of yesterday is a result of their homophobic speeches. They must understand that is not acceptable. Politicians should have the courage to stand up against any kind of violence and protect human rights of every citizen.”

ENDS

For further information on the Intergroup please visit our website:

http://www.lgbt-ep.eu

Representatives of European Parliament’s Intergroup on Gay and Lesbian Rights:

President: Michael Cashman MEP (UK/PSE)

Vice-President: Lissy Gr ner MEP (DE/PSE)

Vice-President: Sophie in ‘t Veld MEP (ALDE)

Vice-President: Ra l Romeva MEP (G/EFA)

Vice-President: Sirpa Pietik inen MEP (EPP-ED)

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