PES Women & Rainbow Rose: #ReclaimYourSpace in Serbia

15/09/2022

Women* delegates outside the Demokratska stranka headquarters in Belgrade before participating in the women* workshop organised by PES Women and Rainbow Rose

Women* delegates outside the Demokratska stranka headquarters in Belgrade before participating in the women* workshop organised by PES Women and Rainbow Rose

PES Women – the PES member organisation fighting for gender equality – and Rainbow Rose – the LGBTIQ organisation of the PES – are present in Belgrade, Serbia, to urge women* and LGBTI people across Europe to reclaim their space.

The organisations travelled to Serbia to attend Europride – the LGBTI Pride event which takes place every year in a different European city – which was set to take place in Belgrade from 12-18 September.

Pride is always an important event for LGBTI people and allies to march for their rights and to celebrate diversity, which the European Court of Human Rights recognises as a fundamental human right.

This year’s event is hugely politically important. Following protests and pressure by far-right, extremist Catholics and conservative groups, the Serbian government banned Europride.

The PES political family - including Rainbow Rose, PES Women, the S&D Group in the EU Parliament and many MEPs, and national representatives - has strongly criticised this decision and has joined pride organisers in continuing with activities in Serbia.

Rainbow Rose and PES Women are organising a series of workshops and panel debates, including a women*-only workshop, a Western Balkan conference and a political rally of the PES family. The PES family is represented by including Helena Dalli, EU Commissioner for Equality; Marc Angel MEP, Co-Chair LGBTI Intergroup; Evin Incir MEP; Cyrus Engerer MEP; Robert Biedron MEP; Falko Droßmann MEP; Zita Gurmai, Member of the Hungarian parliament and PES Women President; Eduard Odinets Member of the Estonian Parliament and Secretary General of SDE Estonia; Pascal Smet, Secretary of State in the Brussels regional government; Victor Gutiérrez PSOE LGBTI Secretary, and members of DS Serbia, an Associate member party of the PES.

Rainbow Rose and PES Women continue their joint campaign “Reclaim Your Space, a feminist outcry for equality” at the event through a panel discussion at the Pride’s human rights conference. The aim of the campaign is to shed light on LBT women*, who too often suffer gender-based discrimination on top of LGBTI-phobia. Women*’s voices must count.

President of Rainbow Rose Camila Garfias reacted:

“The first pride was a riot. As a community our existence has so often been neglected and many lives were lost. This Europride is the first ever Europride in a Western Balkan country, a region that is aspiring to join the European Union. Many people and especially our community are putting a lot of hope in this process because membership in the EU means accepting and respecting human rights.

“As the socialist family we stand with the community and every person that fights for human rights - in Belgrade, all of Serbia and the entire region. The unacceptable threats by the president of Serbia which led to the banning of the Europride-march will not diminish our international solidarity and support. In fact, we are happy that due to it, more delegations have announced their participation in the pride activities.”

PES Women President Zita Gurmai said:

“PES Women and Rainbow Rose are taking this occasion to promote our slogan: Reclaim Your Space, a feminist outcry for equality. We want women* in all their diversity to use their strong voices and reclaim their space!

“We also want to show that the PES family is beside the LGBTI community, as always, to defend their rights. No government can decide that external pressure by conservative groups is an excuse not to defend fundamental rights – this must apply to every corner of Europe!”

As part of Reclaim Your Space, PES Women and Rainbow Rose are asking people to share the campaign with their colleagues, workplace, family, and on social media. Join by sharing a visual or video of spaces in your community you would like to reclaim for yourself or for women*, tagging @PES_Women and @RainbowRose_PES and using #reclaimyourspace.

 The organisations are also supporting the third EL*C conference taking place in Budapest from 28 September - 1 October.

Visit www.pes.eu/reclaim for more information.