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News 16 Feb 12

Macedonia Gay Rights Record 'Worst in Balkans'

Macedonia least respects the rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual community, of all the countries in the Balkans, an international watchdog says.

Sinisa Jakov Marusic
Skopje

March of Tollerance in Skopje | Photo by: Balkan Insight

Macedonia's gay rights record has been slated by an international LGBT rights group.

An updated annual report, “Rainbow Europe Index 2011,” by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association, ILGA–Europe, puts Macedonia at the bottom of the Balkans when it comes to legal protection for the community.

Macedonia scored only -2 on a scale from 17 to -7, with 17 as the highest score and -7 as the lowest, meaning a country characterised by “gross violations of human rights and discrimination” against the gay community.

Macedonia is the only country from the Balkans placed in the so-called red zone of worst offenders, among 13 other states.

“Nothing changed in the past year to improve [Macedonian] LGBT rights”, ILGA–Europe’s spokesperson, Juris Lavrikovs, told Balkan Insight.

The index covers laws and administrative practices that protect or violate human rights, though it does not reflect the broader social situation that LGBT people might encounter in their societies.

“Laws on hate and violence do not refer to sexual orientation or gender identity and do not recognise sexual orientation or gender identity as an aggravating factor,” ILGA complains about Macedonia, noting also that the country provides no legal recognition of same-sex partnerships.

The rest of the Balkans is only slightly better and most countries fall into the so-called yellow zone of countries that are mediocre respecters of gay rights.

Kosovo and Bosnia both score 1, while Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, Albania and Montenegro score 2.
 
The only Balkan countries listed in the better so-called green zone are Slovenia with 6 points and Croatia with 7.

Of the rest of Europe, Ukraine comes right at the bottom, with -4 points, making it the worst violator of LGBT rights in the continent. The United Kingdom with 12.5 and Spain and Sweden with 12 points are on the top of the chart of 49 European countries.

ILGA-Europe is an international non-governmental umbrella organisation bringing together 331 organisations advocating human rights and equality for LGBT people at the European level.

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