Fighting hate speech against the LGBTIQ+ community: What are the ways?, was the topic that was discussed in Tuesday’s Salon. Naim Qelaj, Ombudsman, Erza Kurti, Program Manager at CEL, and Blendë Pira, Program Coordinator at YIHR were invited to discuss this topic. Until the moderation of this salon was carried out by Gresë Sermanxhaj, human rights activist.
Naim Qelaj has stated that every individual is born with the right to identity and rights and that no one should be prevented from using universal human rights. Each individual is born with the right to identity, so it is a universal principle. And why should someone prevent the enjoyment of my rights, if it is my right, if it is a universal principle accepted by all the nations of the world?! I think that one of the influencing factors is the influence of social, moral, and customary norms, it has to do with the lack of knowledge of what human rights are. On the other hand, I believe that this leads to prejudice as a result of ignorance and lack of information.
Besides, he also mentioned the non-disclosure of the Civil Code in the Assembly, stressing that it was problematic, mainly by the majority of deputies. He also emphasizes that the language that was used in the Assembly during the voting of the Civil Code was unacceptable. This language used is wrong, this can also be called as a call to others not to accept such a thing. This makes people of the LGBTIQ+ community feel scared and fear for their lives.
Whereas Blendë Pira from YIHR, emphasized that there is a lot of hate speech on social networks, therefore according to her the fear in the LGBTIQ+ community is present, she also added that trust in institutions is decreasing when it is seen that such language is used by many those who must protect this community. She also showed that for four years now, the organization she comes from has started meetings with state actors to discuss reports, but that they have the best cooperation with the Ombudsman. While she emphasized that it is still necessary to work to achieve what is needed.
Likewise, Erza Kurti, from CEL, emphasized that the language of hatred in Kosovar society is very widespread towards the LGBTIQ+ community because this community is still not accepted by society. The language used in the session was also mentioned here. Normally, it was something that is very problematic and without a language that was used against a community by the MP is very unacceptable because it affects the masses. We know that the Assembly of Kosovo is a high institution and people who have authority normally do not want them to have an agenda of hate speech. Because of this normally used language, violence also flows.
The building was told that LGBT communities need institutional support, not only with statements but also with actions. The cases of murder of LGBTIQ+ persons have increased, but no one talks about these cases, and the police do not categorize the cases. The institutions are not working enough.
“This salon is organized with the financial support of the European Union within the project “Combating Discrimination, Hate Speech, and Gender-Based Violence”. The content of this publication are the responsibility of ATRC, IKS, and D4D and in no way can be considered as the position of the European Union”.