Reference no. 07-00-368/2018-02 Date: 2nd August 2018
This opinion was issued in the procedure pertaining to the complaint lodged by the association “R.I.C.” and “G.L.” against Nenad Popović, a minister without portfolio in charge of innovations and technological development. The complaint states that minister Nenad Popović, on his Twitter account, referencing the news story “Roko has two mommies and Ana has two daddies: First gay picture book takes over the region; with plans to be published in Serbian”, stated the following: “In a time when we as a country are fighting to encourage more births, we are importing gay picture books from Croatia! We need to stop this immediately! We need to stand in the way of those who want to convince us that it is okay for ROKO TO HAVE TWO MOMMIES AND ANNA TWO DADDIES”. The complainants consider that this discriminates against female and male citizens of the Republic of Serbia who have different sexual orientation, including those who are planning or already have children, since same-sex families do exist in Serbia regardless of the absence of legal regulations. In the statement provided by minister Nenad Popović says that this is his personal view, published on his personal Twitter account and does not represent the view of the Government of the Republic of Serbia and that Serbia is a democratic society which guarantees all citizens the freedom of thought and expression, primarily in accordance with Article 43 of the Constitution of the Republic of Serbia. He stated that his statement does not represent any type of discrimination, nor does it represent discriminatory actions based on sexual orientation, that he did not have any attention to offend anyone with his statement and that he is sorry if anyone was offended. The Commissioner for the Protection of Equality conducted a procedure which examined the statements and explanations in the complaint, the contents of the statement of Minister Nenad Popović as well as the messages the Minister sent. In the analysis of the statement, the Commissioner took into consideration the importance of the freedom of expression on one hand and the ban on harassment and demeaning behavior which aims at or represents the breach of dignity of a person or group of persons on the grounds of their personal characteristics especially if that encourages fear or hostile, demeaning and offensive environment on the other side. The Commissioner issued the opinion stating that Minister Nenad Popović breached the provisions of Article 12 of the Law on the Prohibition of Discrimination. Minister Nenad Popović was issued a recommendation to publish a written apology to the members of the LGBT population within 15 days from the date this Opinion with the accompanying recommendation was received and to refrain himself from making statements, spreading ideas and views which demean the members of the LGBT population and encourage prejudice towards marginalized social groups in the future.
|COMMISSIONER FOR THE PROTECTION OF EQUALITY