For equality in diversity

The principle of equality and non-discrimination is a fundamental element in the protection of human rights. It is guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights (article 14) and was reinforced by Protocol No.12 to the Convention, which in a general manner, provides that no-one shall be discriminated against on any ground by any public authority.

Homophobic acts which have occurred in several states unhappily point to systematic violation of the fundamental rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people (LGBTI). These occurrences have also shown that in many cases such injustice is condoned and sometimes even actively supported by the very authorities whose strict duty it is to protect their citizens against all discrimination.

2016 edition 2016 edition
Council of Europe Copenhagen (Denmark) 10 May 2016
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Rights of LGBTI people: preventing emergence of parallel societies

Without smart policies to foster equality and promote mutual understanding and respect in Europe, parallel societies emerge: people living alongside one another, rather than living together. Supporting its member States to build truly inclusive societies is the goal of the Council of Europe, said Director General for Democracy Snežana Samardžić-Marković in her opening address at the IDAHO Forum 2016 that opened in Copenhagen today.

LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex) people’s access to their human rights is frequently hindered by discriminatory treatment, stereotyping and intolerant attitudes.

In order to tackle these problems and build a genuinely inclusive society, European states must put more effort into fighting multiple discrimination, educating young people, combating hate speech and hate crime. Building inclusive societies should be a shared endeavour including all levels of government, civil society, religious institutions, media, arts and sports organisations, and the private sector.

Besides, governments should not shy away from addressing politically sensitive issues of access to family rights for LGBTI people, heavily medicalised legal gender recognition processes, the treatment of intersex children, and, the treatment of LGBTI prisoners or asylum seekers.

Speech by Snežana Samardžić-Marković

IDAHO Forum 2016

European Court of Human Rights European Court of Human Rights

Whilst for many LGBTI people in Europe life has become easier and society more tolerant, they face still many other obstacles. The Court has been asked to judge cases involving the banning of gay pride parades and discrimination in granting social rights, with a number of applications pending on the laws which criminalise "homosexual propaganda".

Commissioner for Human Rights Commissioner for Human Rights

The Commissioner regularly raises the LGBTI topic with authorities in member states, and expresses his concerns in country monitoring reports and specific thematic publications.

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The Committee of Ministers, the Parliamentary Assembly and the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities have issued several recommendations and resolutions calling upon governments and local authorities to take the requisite measures to combat incitement to homophobia.
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