Following is an open letter circulated by the Bosnian by ammaalder


									Following is an open letter circulated by the Bosnian NGO Organization Q drafted
after a recent case of hate speech against homosexuals during a public lecture held
in Sarajevo.

The Bosnia and Herzegovina Office of Global Rights has endorsed the letter calling
on hate crimes legislation covering hate speech and incitation to hatred against
LGBT people.

                                      Organization Q              .

     The Organization Q for Promotion and Protection of Culture, Identities and Human Rights of Queer Persons

                                                                                     Bosnia and Herzegovina
                                                                                          +387 (0) 61 869 184

Sarajevo, 24 July 2006

                                                    AN OPEN LETTER

On Sunday, 16 July 2006, at 6 pm, the Svjetlost-Menar Association organised a public lecture,
held at the Bosnian Cultural Centre in Sarajevo, on the topic ‘The way to salvation from
homosexuality’ (the keynote speaker Harmin Suljić).

During the lecture, Suljić stated that according to the Sharia law, homosexuals should be
thrown off a cliff, have a wall fallen on them and should be stoned. He also added that the
community in Bosnia and Herzegovina supports this position, but given that Bosnia and
Herzegovina is not a state where the Sharia law is in force, such measures are not carried out
in our state.

Such public expression is a clear case of hate speech used in the name of religion. It
represents the public incitement of hatred and intolerance as well as the incitement and
encouragement of the public lynching of homosexuals. The Association for the Promotion of
Culture Svjetlost-Menar thus must be held accountable as a legal entity registered in BiH. The
keynote speaker must also be held personally accountable given that he misuses his position.
Both Svjetlost-Menar and the speaker have publicly shown intolerance and used hate speech
aimed at the whole gay and lesbian population in BiH, thereby violating the BiH Constitution,
public safety, and the rights and freedoms of others.

Article 3, section 2 of the Law on Associations and Foundations of the Federation of Bosnia
and Herzegovina explicitly states that: ‘The aims and activities of any association cannot be in
violation of the constitutional order of Bosnia and Herzegovina nor of the Federation of Bosnia
and Herzegovina, nor can they be aimed towards the forceful bringing down thereof or towards
the incitement of the national, racial, religious and other hatred or discrimination prohibited by
the Constitution and the Law.’

This hate speech was not addressed toward any specific person but toward the whole gay and
lesbian population. Additionally, given that a few persons from the Organization Q are publicly
out and are LGBTIQ activists, they may be in direct danger and may become potential targets
of the direct followers of Harmin Suljić and/or by those motivated or inspired by this or similar
public statements.
Discrimination based on sex/gender and sexual orientation is against the law and is
punishable in Bosnia and Herzegovina under the Law on Gender Equality (Article 2) as well as
under all four existing Criminal Codes (BiH, the Federation of BiH, the Republika Srpska, and
the Brčko District). Bosnia and Herzegovina is a secular state, which, by its Constitution and
signed international covenants, guarantees the protection of and respect for human rights for
all its citizens.

We, hereby, call on all organisations to join us in requesting that relevant institutions take
appropriate action, under the laws of BiH, against such hate speech and discrimination.
Furthermore, we call on the Islamic community, as well as other religious communities in
Bosnia and Herzegovina, to denounce publicly actions of such organizations which by their
work render them fundamentalist. Such a public act and attitude will demonstrate the
importance of their role as organizations creating BiH as a state that truly respects and
promotes the human rights of all its citizens.

Sincerely yours,
Svetlana Đurković and Slobodanka Dekić
The Organization Q

-Centar za nenasilnu akciju, Sarajevo
-Omladinska mreza u BiH
-Žena i društvo, Sarajevo
-Jadranka Miličević, Fondacija CURE, Sarajevo
-Žene Ženama, Sarajevo
-Fondacija CURE, Sarajevo
-Žene u crnom, Beograd
-Helsinški odbor za ljudska prava Republike Srpske
-Centar za savremenu umjetnost, Sarajevo
-Ranko Milanović-Blank
-Selma Hadžihalilović, Sarajevo
-Dženita Derviškadić
-NVO Zenski centar Trebinje
-La Strada BiH
-UG "Kuća plamena mira" Tuzla
-Helsinški komitet za ljudska prava u BiH
-Media centar, Sarajevo
-Gender centar – Centar za jednakost i ravnopravnost spolova Vlade RS
-Damir Arsenijević
-Udruženje "Radio Kameleon-Otvorena mreža ljudskih prava i demokratije" Tuzla
-Besima Borić
-Asocijacija za seksualno i reproduktivno zdravlje XY
-Žene sa Une, Bihać
-Centar za rodne studije (Institut "Euro-Balkan"), Skopje
-Organizacija žena "LARA", Bijeljina
-Jasmina Husanović, Centar za stvaralački, istraživački i građanski angažman "Grad" Tuzla
-FORMA F, Mostar
-Dina Duraković
-Udruženje Logos
-Liberalno demokratska stranka Bosne i Hercegovine
-Tanja Miletić Oručević
-Husein Oručević, Media centar OKC Abrašević, Mostar
-Vijeće mladih, Jablanica
-Kampanja za prigovor savjesti
-UG Zašto ne
-Food not bombs kolektiv
-Centar za životnu sredinu, Banja Luka
-Akcija protiv SIDA-e, Banja Luka
-UG Kuća plamena mira, Tuzla
-Omladinski TV

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