LGBTQ activists confront violence: a call to action from Montenegro

In a distressing incident, LGBTQ activists H.K. and N.I. (names changed) found themselves targeted in an act of violence that has underscored the challenges faced by the LGBTQ community in Montenegro. H.K., who was alone at home at the time, reported that an unknown assailant forcefully broke down their front door using a hammer. This alarming event occurred as H.K. and N.I. were actively engaged in raising awareness about the ongoing violence against the LGBTQ community.

The swift and decisive response from the police force to this attack is commendable. H.K. reported the incident to the police, leading to the identification and apprehension of the perpetrator. Subsequently, the Misdemeanor Court imposed an appropriate sentence by the law, demonstrating a commitment to justice.

However, this isolated incident is not the sole manifestation of hostility that H.K. and N.I. have faced. H.K. revealed that, just hours before the door-breaking incident, a group of individuals verbally harassed them while H.K. was walking her dog. The attackers shouted derogatory phrases such as “Satan, get out of here” and “Satan begone.” Although there is no direct evidence linking the two incidents, H.K. and N.I. emphasize that this serves as an alarming example of the everyday challenges LGBTQ activists encounter.

In a joint statement, H.K. and N.I. called for increased awareness of the persistent violence faced by the LGBTQ community. They highlighted the importance of reporting such incidents, as they emerged as an effective means to systematically address the escalating problem of violence. They expressed concern about the rising prevalence of hate speech, and discrimination contributing to an increasingly hostile environment.

As a call to action, H.K. and N.I. urged everyone who experiences violence to report it promptly, emphasizing that collective efforts are essential to combat the growing threats posed by discrimination and prejudice. Their courageous stance sheds light on the importance of fostering a society that respects and protects the rights of all individuals, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

As part of the regional campaign “Push forward! To end violence against women and girls”, REAct organized a series of webinars on how to counteract gender-based violence and how to qualitatively help women who come forward. Recordings of webinars in English, Ukrainian, and Russian are available below. In 2023, we encourage new listeners to view the webinar recordings. From November 25, 2023 to January 31, 2024, each participant receives a unique opportunity to take a short test and receive a personalized online certificate.

Visit useful materials on the REAct website for more useful courses and publications. Operative data regarding human rights violations of vulnerable to HIV/AIDS communities are available as well on country data factsheets. Read more success stories of response here.