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President Stevo Pendarovski received today the organizers of the “Skopje Pride” event, which this year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is held virtually in the period 20-30 June.

Civil society representatives organizing Skopje Pride informed President Pendarovski about the planned activities aimed at raising public awareness, talks on key topics, as well as musical and cultural activities that celebrate diversity.

President Pendarovski welcomed the activities of all organizations and activists working to promote the rights of the LGBTI community and all marginalized communities in order to increase their visibility in the society and exercise of their basic human rights.

The interlocutors stressed that in terms of the status of the LGBTI community, effective systemic solutions are needed. The Law on Protection against Discrimination was repealed by the Constitutional Court, which provided for the first time protection of all vulnerable groups, as well as a professional commission for prevention and protection against discrimination, by increasing its independence and competence. In that regard, President Pendarovski stressed that he would ask the next parliamentary composition to put the law on the priority list for adoption.

The meeting also discussed other steps needed to improve the situation of LGBTI people, such as raising public awareness, effective enforcement of laws, especially hate crimes, protection against discrimination and support for the vulnerable persons who need integration into the society.

President Pendarovski wished a successful implementation of Skopje Pride and added that cooperation between the civil society sector, activists and the community with public institutions is very important because often the experience that comes directly from the field of civil society is crucial to make systemic solutions.