Statement by National Coordinator for LGBT policy Jovan Kojičić

    Podgorica, Montenegro (31 August 2015) — Regarding the controversy and disapproval of certain members of the community, as the National Coordinator for LGBT policy, I wish to underline that the Government’s policy in the field of promoting human rights of vulnerable groups is being implemented at full capacity, in which LGBT rights have special place, which has been acknowledged by both the local LGBT community and relevant international addresses.

    We are carefully considering demands made by the LGBT community, and I, as the National Coordinator, have proposed an upgraded model of work and reporting on the implementation of the requirements set out in the action plans in order to make the whole process more efficient. This method of work has been backed up, so I do not see any point in reminding us to do what we already do, nor do I think that it helps me, the National Coordinator, be more efficient and focus on the essence and demands that lie ahead of us.

    Implementation of the governmental LGBT policy is constantly growing: we have had very good results of cooperation between the police and LGBT community, as well as excellent cooperation, response and commitment of the State Prosecutor’s Office. Furthermore, we have improved legislation, adopted hate crime as a prohibited ground of discrimination of LGBT persons and legally supported the costs of sex reassignment under the health insurance. In collaboration with the LGBT community, reputable international experts and the European Commission, we have been preparing a model of the registered partnership for same-sex unions, and received continued support from the LGBT community and relevant international stakeholders in that regard.

    The Government’s LGBT policy is being implemented according to the planned dynamics. Over the last few years, Montenegro has achieved notable results in this area. Things cannot be changed overnight, so I do not see any need to waste unnecessarily anyone’s energy, as there are already the partnership establlished, dialogue and impressive results ranking Montenegro at the very top of open governments when countries of the European Union and Council of Europe are considered. Nowadays, Montenegro is ranked 17th on the ILGA Europe LGBT map.

    From the very beginning of pursuing the government’s LGBT policy, all activities, a wide range of projects, actions and programmes have been implemented in full cooperation and consultation with the LGBT community and relevant non-governmental organisations. We have had open and meaningful consultations between the government and NGOs. We have drafted and endorsed LGBT action plans, including the 2015 one, where all the activities proposed by the NGOs were accepted and included in the programme. We will continue making efforts. Moreover, as a government, we have launched a Balkan initiative of promoting and respecting diversity in the workplace, thereby we actively participate and support global processes in this area.

    The service assisting the work of the Council was not available to me due to vacations. I expect them to be engaged soon, when I will be able to organise a reception for the LGBT community, encourage further mutual dialogue and partnership, and once again send a message about our commitment to the policy of human rights of LGBT people.

    Source: Government of Montenegro