Human Right Watch Calls on Bulgarian Govt to Protect Gay Rights

Society | June 27, 2012, Wednesday // 12:31| Views: | Comments: 0
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Bulgaria: Human Right Watch Calls on Bulgarian Govt to Protect Gay Rights Pictured: the 4th annual Sofia Pride gay parade which took place in June 2011. Photo by BGNES

New York-based NGO Human Rights Watch has sent a letter to Bulgaria's Justice Minister Diana Kovacheva, reminding that the country has the responsibility to protect the LGBT community against violence or calls for violence.

"On behalf of Human Rights Watch, I urge you to publicly denounce the statements inciting hatred and violence against LGBT people made by father Evgeni Yanakiev from Sliven," Boris Dittrich, advocacy director of the LGBT Rights Program at Human Rights Watch, has said in the letter.

"Our whole society must in every possible way oppose the gay parade that is being planned. For this reason today I appeal to all those who consider themselves Christians and Bulgarians. Throwing stones at gays is an appropriate way," Father Evgeniy Yanakiev from the Sliven eparchy said on June 6.

The Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church failed to condemn the outrageous statement. Instead, it confirmed the Church's firm opposition to such "immoral manifestations," and its immutable conviction that homosexuality is "an unnatural lust which unconditionally harms both the personality of those who commit it and the society as a whole."

"The call to stone gay people is a heinous threat to the security of peaceful people who want to use their freedom of assembly," said Dittrich has declared.

"It is incitement to hatred and violence and should be condemned by the justice minister in the clearest terms and in the most public way possible."

June 30 will see the fifth edition of Sofia Pride, a march for equal rights of persons of different sexual orientation or gender identity.

The NGO has reminded that in previous years, two Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride parades in the Balkan country have been marred by violent attacks on participants.

Bulgaria, as a member state of the Council of Europe, is subject to a recommendation (CM/Rec (2010) 5) of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe to member states to combat discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity. The recommendation was unanimously adopted by the Committee of Ministers on March 31, 2010.

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Tags: Sofia Pride, gay parade, church, Holy Synod, orthodox church, violence, stones, LGBT, human rights watch
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