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Building Montenegro in which everyone is free to be who they are

Ambassador Knight-Sands at the "Strategy for Improving Quality of Life of LGBT Persons 2013-2018" launch event

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"Strategy for Improving Quality of Life of LGBT Persons 2013-2018" Launch Event

On 26 August British ambassador Kate Knight-Sands, together with Montenegrin Prime Minister’s adviser for human rights Jovan Kojicic, Dutch ambassador Laurent Louis Stokvis and NGO human rights activist Aleksandar Sasa Zekovic, participated in the launch of Montenegrin government’s Strategy for Improving Quality of Life of LGBT Persons 2013-2018.

Ambassador Knight-Sands welcomed the new strategy and cooperation with all interested and enthusiastic partners. She praised the progress Montenegro has made so far:

We have seen new laws introduced, and the appointment of a Prime Minister’s advisor on human rights, who has taken a strong role in promoting LGBT rights. We have NGOs dedicated to addressing issues facing the LGBT Community, seeking to raise public awareness and to work with the Government to change perceptions, policies and attitudes. The British Embassy in Montenegro has had the honour and pleasure of supporting several projects aimed at promoting and protecting LGBT rights. We recently supported efforts to mark International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO) on 17 May. We have supported new medical services for transgender persons, media campaigns against homophobia, implementation of the Antidiscrimination Law, training of LGBT activists, ombudsman office, medical staff, judges, prosecutors and police officers. Our Deputy Head of Mission and Political Officer joined activists, the Dutch Ambassador, NGOs and government representatives, standing and marching together for pride in Budva. Had I been in the country at the time, I would have been there too, and I take this opportunity to compliment the police for their work in protecting the participants under challenging circumstances. I am confident that they will successfully do the same for the Parade in Podgorica scheduled for October. We have worked with the government, with civil society, with public administrators and fellow diplomatic representatives such as our Dutch friends here with us today. And it is this togetherness that is so important – those who seek to exclude also seek to divide, and it is essential that they are not allowed to succeed. Once again, I welcome this strategy, and the broad, inclusive approach it seeks, and look forward to seeing its ambitions being fully realised here in Montenegro. While I will be leaving Montenegro this autumn, I reiterate the continued support from the United Kingdom, and its Embassy in Montenegro, to the shared goal of building a Montenegro in which everyone is free to be who they are, free to live their lives without fear of harassment or discrimination on the basis of their identity.

Published 26 August 2013