Combating discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity

Sexual orientation and gender identity : The first international human rights instrument against discrimination

In 2010 the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers made history, adopting a recommendation to member States on Measures to combat discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. Read recommendation CM (2010)
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons have been for centuries and still are subjected to homophobia, transphobia, and other forms of intolerance and discrimination even within their family. The Council of Europe is committed to promote and ensure respect for the human rights and dignity of every individual and to combat discrimination and violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons in Europe.
Discrimination is persistent and pervasive – including criminalisation, marginalisation, social exclusion and violence. The Council of Europe provides support to member states by sharing good practices, organizing capacity building activities for government and local authorities dealing with LGBT issues, providing support and empowering LGBT rights organizations and raising public awareness on issues related to discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity.
The Sexual orientation and gender identity Unit within the Council of Europe is the focal point for work on sexual orientation and gender identity issues. It works in close cooperation with other Council of Europe sectors, institutions and member states and seeks partnerships with other intergovernmental organisations and civil society actors.

News

Malta recognises same-sex civil partnerships

On Monday April 14th the Maltese parliament passed legislation allowing same-sex couples to enter civil unions. The legislation provides same-sex couples also with the right to apply for joint adoption. After the Maltese decision there are now 22 Council of Europe member states which legally recognize same-sex couples.
On the same day the Maltese parliament passed an amendment to the country’s constitution including sexual orientation and gender identity among the grounds of prohibited discrimination. Malta became the first European country to mention gender identity as a prohibited discrimination ground in its Constitution.

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