Nationalist Bosnian party calls for cancellation of first Sarajevo Pride

LGBTI activists holindg a banner reading 'Equality now'.

Bosnia and Herzegovina’s strongest conservative nationalist party has called for the cancellation of Sarajevo’s first Pride parade.

The Party of Democratic Action is the most powerful party in the country and has a proven track record of opposing LGBTI equality. Prime Minister Denis Zvizdić comes from the ranks of PDA, also called Stranka Demokratske Akcije (SDA) in Bosnian.

SDA released a statement today (3 April), explaining the reasons for their efforts to cancel the parade.

Sarajevo Pride opposes fundamental family values

‘Every Bosnian citizen, regardless of their race, ethnicity, religion, political or ideological orientation as well as sexual preference, must have the same rights, but events such as Pride Parade should be cancelled because they only cause confusion among Sarajevo residents,’ the party wrote.

‘In a society like ours, which cherishes fundamental family values in spite of ever more challenging times, LGBT community members should not organize public parades or marches because they would only widen the gap between people of different understandings, and they would not bring any new values to human rights,’ the SDA also wrote.

As N1 reports, the party’s reaction follows the announcement of the first parade in the city. Local LGBTI activists announced on Tuesday 2 April the parade would take place on 8 September.

SDA is a ‘party of Muslim cultural-historic circle’ and claims to be respectful of human rights and individual freedoms.

‘Can’t be proud of that’

After the news of Sarajevo Pride broke on Tuesday, SDA Sarajevo Canton MP Samra Cosovic-Hajdarevic took a stance against it.

‘I’m sorry, but I can’t be proud of that,’ she captioned an anti-LGBTI post she shared on her timeline.

Ovo je nesto sto cemo uskoro gledati na nasim ulicama. Jer to je nesto sto "vi", koji podrzavate ovaj sistem,…

Posted by Svemirac on Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Activists said they would ask for the MP’s public apology and demand her political party to react.

‘It is horrible that one MP and a representative of the people who were detained, isolated and removed during the past war is now advocating for the use of the very same methods towards another social group,’ said LGBTI activist Vladana Vasic.

‘Based on the Law on Prohibiting Discrimination of Bosnia and Herzegovina, there’s a ground to file a lawsuit for inciting discrimination, which we are currently consulting with our lawyers,’ she furthermore added.

Pride is taking place

International LGBTI activists are urging Sarajevo authorities to go ahead with Pride.

‘We are delighted to hear about the first Sarajevo Pride taking place later this year. Bosnia is the last country in the region not to have a Pride, and the LGBTI community there will now have the chance to come together, campaign for equality, and feel the sense of community we all get from Pride,’ Kristine Garina, President of European Pride Organisers Association, told GSN.

‘It’s disappointing but not surprising that right-wing politicians are using spurious family values concerns to object to the Pride. Rainbow families exist right across Europe, and Pride is an important opportunity for them to come out and be noticed.

‘We call on the authorities in Sarajevo to ensure the Pride takes place with their support, and with all necessary resources to ensure it is a safe event for everyone.’

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