Combating discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity

The Council of Europe – through its standards and mechanisms – aims to promote and ensure respect for the human rights and dignity of every individual, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons ( LGBT persons) and to combat discrimination and violence against them in the 47 member states. For this purpose, the Committee of Ministers adopted Recommendation CM/Rec(2010)5 on Measures to combat discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. The Council of Europe LGBT-Project contributes to the implementation of CM/Rec(2010)5 as well as to other key legal instruments and the work of the Commissioner for Human Rights.

The Unit is the focal point for LGBT-Issues within the Council of Europe. Its objectives is to implement Recommendation CM/Rec(2010)5 to organise and support relevant conferences and activities, document relevant developments and be the home of the Council of Europe LGBT Project. The LGBT Issues Unit was created in October 2011 under the Directorate of Human Rights and Antidiscrimination (DGII).

The Council of Europe LGBT Project

The overall, and long term, goal of the Council of Europe LGBT project was to contribute to the improvement of the quality of life among LGBT people in Europe. This was achieved by supporting the governments in 6 partner member states in their efforts to develop a forceful, cross-sectoral LGBT policy, strengthening human rights for LGBT people, and supporting the national fight against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Recommendation (2010) 5 of the Committee of Ministers to member states on measures to combat discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity constituted the main framework for the project. In line with this, and within the limits set by available funds1, the project aimed to support a spectrum of measures and activities, according to the needs and priorities in each country. The project, anchored to the Council of Europe, DG II Democracy, focused on relevant measures and activities with a view of developing national strategies.
Its lenght was 28 months, running from September 2011 until the end of 2013.

1- The project was funded by volontary contribution from members states: at present, Belgium, Finland, Germany, Netherlands, Norway,Sweden, Switzerland, United-Kingdom.



In 2010 the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe adopted the first ever international instrument dealing specifically with LGBT issues: CM Recommendation (2010) 5 to member states on measures to combat discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity, which has a human rights-based approach and recommends a range of measures to be taken by member states in order to combat discrimination in this area and covers the major challenges facing LGBT persons:

The purpose is not to create new rights, but to ensure that every person enjoys equal rights and dignity. CM/Rec(2010)5 affirms the principle that “neither cultural, traditional nor religious values, nor the rules of a “dominant culture” can be invoked to justify hate speech or any other form of discrimination, including on grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity »

More information on the creation of the CM/Rec(2010)5

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Explanatory Memorandum

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