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EU hopefuls told to improve gay rights

EU hopefuls told to improve gay rights

The European Parliament is urging EU hopefuls Turkey, Serbia, Montenegro and Kosovo to improve gay rights.

In its 2012 accession report, the parliament called on the four countries which all candidates to join the EU in the future to make greater efforts in tackling discrimination against LGBT people.

Turkey's government was asked to include homophobia and transphobia in its hate crime laws, condemned for the frequent prosecution of LGBT people and asked that Turkish Armed Forces end classifying homosexuality as a ‘psychosexual illness’.

The parliament expressed serious concern about Serbia's 'lack of political will…to ensure the safety of the participants of the Pride Parade' in 2011, and 'strongly condemned inflammatory and discriminatory remarks on the topic by some politicians and members of the Orthodox clergy.'

While the resolution on Kosovo highlighted that 'discrimination is still a serious problem in the country and calls on the government to implement a broad anti-discrimination strategy' on all grounds, including sexual orientation and gender identity.

However, Montenegro was praised for positive developments in the country and the parliament's resolution 'welcomes the recent adoption of the Law Against Discrimination, which explicitly mentions sexual orientation and gender identity'.

Jelko Kacin MEP, official investigator for the accession of Serbia and member of Europe's LGBT Intergroup, said: 'We will continue to encourage the authorities in Belgrade to make sure that the next trip of an MEP to the Belgrade Pride will not only be to a press conference, like mine was last year.

'LGBT rights should be respected throughout the year and the first convictions for hate violence set an important precedent.'

Ulrike Lunacek MEP, LGBT Intergroup co-president, said the reports showed the EU was committed to promoting human rights, regardless of gender or sexual orientation.

'Now the Commission must take note of these recommendations and closely monitor developments for LGBT rights in 2012,' she said.

'In the European Parliament and especially the LGBT Intergroup we will follow developments and insist that progress is essential for LGBT people to be able to live their lives and loves without fear.'

Turkey, Serbia and Montenegro are all official candidates to join the EU and Kosovo is currently considered a potential candidate.