The project “Step up” was launched by the organization ILGA-Europe (i.e. European Region of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association). An empowered LGBT movement at the national level in this region is rated as an important element in the fight against the increasing discrimination against LGBT people and represents the main motive for launching the project, recognized in need for strengthening LGBT organizations in the Western Balkans.

The main goal of the project “Step up” is to improve the legal and social position of LGBT people in the Western Balkans.


Hate crime and hate speech

Almost every public appearance of organizations and/or activists who deal with LGBT issues in the Western Balkans has been accompanied by threats or physical violence. We refer to situations where people are targeted or attacked because of their sexual orientation and gender identity. However, a number of these cases remain unreported, mainly due to the lack of trust in the institutions (e.g. police) and fear of victimization.

Violation of the right to assembly

Although the right to assembly is guaranteed by law in all countries of the Western Balkans, this  right is not enjoyed because of the homophobic climate in a particular country, or denied by the local authorities. In many cases, when LGBT people still choose to exercise their fundamental rights to association and assembly, they are faced with hate speech and violence.


Discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity is a daily struggle for LGBT people in all countries of the Western Balkans. Homophobic statements by leading politicians, professionals in the field of health, but also other areas, additionally nourish and give legitimacy to the widespread discrimination against LGBT people.


Partners on project:

  • Kontra (Croatia)
  • Labris (Serbia)
  • Aleanca (Albania)
  • Juventas (Montenegro)


Project consists of two main components:

Capacity Building

Organizational Management and Leadership Skills
Documenting, reporting and advocacy


Documentation of evidence and representation  

Documenting, monitoring and advocacy at    the national level based on evidence

Monitoring and representation at the European level                                                                          


At the national level:

  • Documenting and monitoring violations of human rights of LGBT people and generating reports based on the collected evidence

  • Advocacy and awareness-raising campaigns

  • Public campaigns, peaceful demonstrations, if they are relevant and possible

  • Legal counselling for LGBT people, support in litigation, if relevant

  • Educational sessions and workshops to raise awareness

At the European level:

  • Study visits to the institutions of the European Union

  • Meetings of lobbying with decision makers in the EU

  • Trainings




More information on the organization ILGA Europe.