Following the brutal killing of two people outside an LGBTI bar in Bratislava on 12 October, numerous organizations are organizing a demonstration tomorrow to express solidarity with Slovakia’s LGBTI community. Amnesty International will be participating in the solidarity march, and is also calling on the Slovakian authorities to take urgent measures to ensure justice for the victims and their loved ones, and to protect the rights of LGBTI people in the country.
The planned demonstration will take place at the Slovak National Uprising Square (SNP Square) in central Bratislava at 17h.
“Nobody should have to live in fear because of who they are. Yet LGBTI people in Slovakia are facing hostility, hatred, and violent attacks while many, including politicians, spread harmful stereotypes and misinformation about them. Amnesty International sends our sincere condolences to the loved ones of Juraj and Matúš. We will be joining the demonstration in solidarity with the LGBTI community,” said Rado Sloboda, Director of Amnesty International Slovakia.
On the evening of 12 October, two young LGBTI people were shot dead in front of Teplaren, an LGBTI bar. One other person was also injured. The suspect was later found dead.
Prior to carrying out the attack, the alleged shooter had published a manifesto containing violent and discriminatory language against the LGBTI community and Jewish people. LGBTI individuals and activists have been increasingly reporting attacks on social media in the aftermath of the killings, including two people who were attacked on a train. The Pride march organizers are also receiving threats.
Martin Macko, Director of the Inakosť Initiative, a Slovakian LGBTI rights NGO, and one of the organizers of the protest, said: “The meeting at SNP Square will commemorate Juraj and Matúš together with their loved ones. At the same time, we will send a signal to the government and parliament that we are not silent and we demand that they take steps towards equal rights for LGBTI people.”
“Whether in public spaces or in law, LGBTI people in Slovakia are not adequately protected. The fact that parliamentarians recently rejected a law about partners cohabitance that would have improved the lives of LGBTI people, exposes how politicians have chosen to cement inequality rather than opt for progressive reforms. The law would have, for example, helped people to access their partner’s medical records or ease the inheritance process should one of the partners pass away.
Amnesty calls on the authorities to urgently protect the rights of LGBTI people,” said Rado Sloboda.
Amnesty International is calling for a thorough and swift police investigation into the crime and calling for the government to take preventive measures to protect targeted groups, such as the LGBTI and Jewish communities, from such attacks..
Same-sex marriage and civil partnerships are yet to be legally recognized in Slovakia.
In April, the Slovakian Ministry of Health issued guidelines on standardizing healthcare procedures for gender affirmative healthcare, which also banned forced sterilizations. Sterilizations were not legally required in the past but were often suggested or even mandated by many doctors.
The release of these guidelines led to an intense backlash, including discriminatory statements by some parliamentary MPs. On 18 May, the guidelines were suspended.
On 27 October, Amnesty International will mobilize its supporters around the world to stand in solidarity with LGBTI people in Slovakia.