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Belgrade To Open Gay Shelter

Gay rights activists rally in Belgrade in October 2011.
Belgrade's mayor says the city is setting up a shelter for gays and lesbians rejected by their families.

Mayor Dragan Djilas said it was "shameful" that people give up on their children because of their sexual orientation.

Homophobia is widespread in Serbia despite government pledges to protect gay rights as part of reform needed for Serbia to join the European Union.

Rights group Gay Straight Alliance said in a report on May 18 that violence and harassment against the homosexual population is on the rise in the Balkan country.

A gay-pride rally last year was canceled due to the threat of violence, and more than 100 people were injured in violent clashes during the 2010 rally.

Based on reporting by AP

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