Not even this parliamentary composition was able to protect the LGBTI people – The Decision of the Constitutional court will not deter us from our demands and efforts

With great disappointment, albeit expecting it, the National Network for against Homophobia and Transphobia received the news on the Decision of the Constitutional court to repeal the Law on Prevention of and Protection against Discrimination, adopted at the session on 14 May 2020. This Decision of the Constitutional court comes after the initiative submitted by the previous composition of the Commission for Protection against Discrimination to assess the constitutionality and the legality of the Law, as the Law was adopted without the required majority as regulated by Article 75 of the Constitution.
The fault and the responsibility for this decision rests with the MPs, especially the ruling majority who based their election campaign on building a society for all and made promises for improvement of the rights of the LGBTI people. The President of the Assembly, Talat Xhaferi, and the President of the state, Stevo Pendarovski, also hold responsibility for this Decision, as they had to know that the Law was adopted in violation of to the Constitution.

The new Law for the first time explicitly prohibited against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, which was supposed to finally provide greater protection and legal recognition of the identity of the LGBTI people. The adoption of this law was a result of our many years of work, tireless commitment and perseverance, all in to provide a better life for LGBTI people, a reason for pride and hope that one day, the state and the fellow citizens will treat us as equals. However, we do not think that our efforts are in vain, despite the disappointment.

The message you have sent to LGBTI people, and to the other groups of vulnerable, different, humiliated and disenfranchised citizens such as the Roma people, the poor, the political misfits, the people with disabilities, the women, and the working women, is that their rights and lives are irrelevant. We have no political power, we have no money, we cannot bring you votes in the election, but we do not consider it a precondition for you to provide us with a dignified life which you owe us with the very fact that we exist.

The ultimate goal of efficient and effective protection against discrimination should be to curb the unlawfully acquired privileges and to provide equal access to human rights for the most marginalized, as key resources in democracy. We do understand, therefore, that it is unlikely that you will put yourself in our shoes from the perspective of your privileged position, and work with us to promote the advancement of our rights, yet, our rights are not a matter of your empathy or mercy but rather a matter of your obligation and duty.

We will continue to remind you even more of your duties and obligations. Our diversity has enabled us to develop support networks and safe spaces where some of us can live freely and with dignity. Our marginalization has enabled us to show solidarity with all disenfranchised communities, and through our fight, to continue advocating for the emancipation of the whole society.

We remind the institutions that despite the repeal of the Law, they have an obligation to protect LGBTI people against discrimination and to treat them equally and with dignity. We call on all LGBTI people to join our fight to strengthen our political power.