The European Parliament encourages stronger political participation of LGBTI people in Macedonia

Earlier this morning, Antonio Mihajlov from Subversive Front – association for a critical approach to gender and sexuality from Skopje, Macedonia, held a meeting with the Special Rapporteur of the European Parliament for the Republic of Macedonia, Mr. Ivo Vajgl, MEP. Filip Avramchev, member of the Executive Board of the Liberal democratic party of Macedonia, and Jasmina Koneska, member of the Council for Euro-Atlantic integrations and the Board of international policies, also attended the meeting.

The topics discussed at the meeting were the issues regarding the position of the LGBTI persons in Macedonia and the ways how the European Parliament could help in improving the status and the rights of these people in the country. The commitment in advocating for LGBTI rights of the Liberal democratic party (LDP) shown so far was also discussed, as well as their upcoming activities planned in this regard. LDP is one of the few political parties in Macedonia that openly and continuously support the LGBTI persons in their combat for equality in society, as part of the wider campaign for equality and human rights for all.

Antonio Mihajlov emphasized that in the last 2 years, LGBTI issues have been placed at the margins of the political discourse in Macedonia, as well as the issues affecting the other marginalized groups in society, such as Roma people and refugees. The political crisis that emerged as a result of the revelation of the audio records the wire-tapping communication of the 22000 citizens, put the corruption and crime committed by some of the top officials in the country under the media and public spotlight. The safeguard and enjoyment of the human rights as universal to all citizens of Macedonia, including the lesbian, gay men, bisexual, trans* and intersexual persons, were neglected in the political debate.

The Special Rapporteur of the European Parliament for Macedonia, who is also representative of the Alliance of the liberal and democrats for Europe in EP, Mr. Ivo Vajgl, pointed out that the European Parliament will continue dedicating efforts in advocating for LGBTI rights and equality within the scope of its mandate and across Europe, especially in the EU candidate countries. Meanwhile, he expressed his concern for the rising ne-conservative, right wing movements and rhetoric in Europe, especially after Brexit and the victory of Donald Trump at the US presidential elections, as they usually reproduce homophobic and non-inclusive rhetoric.

At the end of the meeting, Antonio Mihajlov informed about the current campaign “Vote for equality” conducted by Subversive Front, which is related to strengthening political participation of LGBTI persons in Macedonia in light of the early parliamentary elections scheduled for 11th December 2016, as well as about the First National LGBTI Conference in Macedonia, scheduled for 5th December, just 6 days before the elections.