Human Rights Action (HRA) strongly condemns the physical attack on Stevan Milivojević, human rights activist and executive director of LGBT Forum Progress, which happened yesterday in Podgorica. Milivojević said that he was intercepted in the street by two young men, who recognized he was a prominent gay rights activist, and who told him that he was “in their neighbourhood, in which no faggots were allowed”. They called him a “disgusting faggot,” and then punched him twice in the head with fists, which left Milivojević with a cut lip. The attackers then escaped. HRA expects the police to identify and severely punish the perpetrators of this attack as soon as possible, bearing in mind that Montenegrin Criminal Code prescribes stricter punishment for criminal offenses motivated by hatred.
To date Stevan Milivojević suffered more than 30 physical and verbal attacks at public places, which as a rule, were never punished. For the first time last year in November last year three men from Podgorica were finally sentenced to three and a half months in prison for publicly endangering Milivojević by insulting and threatening to physically attack him. At the time of the incident, he was accompanied by Terry Reinke, member of the European Parliament. Milivojević is widely known as a particularly peaceful person, always open for a dialogue.
Zdravko Cimbaljević, former director of the same organization, LGBT Forum Progress, has been granted asylum by Canada in 2013 because the state of Montenegro failed to provide him with protection and prosecute numerous attacks and death threats to which he was continuously exposed.
Montenegro prohibited every form of hatred and intolerance by its Constitution. Regardless of the written laws and the oral declarations of its officials, the violence which some residents of Montenegro prove ready to apply to homosexuals can be eradicated only by strict penal policy and different approach to education and upbringing.