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.
In a letter sent to the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada, Volodymyr Lytvyn, Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland expressed deep concern over a bill which proposes to ban the so-called “promotion” of homosexuality.
The Secretary General urged the Ukrainian authorities to guarantee the principles of freedom of expression and non-discrimination, which are set out in the European Convention on Human Rights, before submitting this bill to a second reading.
The Ukrainian Parliament needs to protect sexual minorities and reject “initiatives which are likely to increase intolerance and prejucides in society at large,” he said, adding that the Council of Europe was ready to offer all necessary assistance.
Responding to the ban of the Belgrade Pride 2012 event, Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland issued the following statement: “I am surprised and disappointed that the Belgrade Pride event has been banned again. Citizens should be able to exercise their rights of freedom of assembly and freedom of expression. Serbia should be in a position to safeguard such an event, which is commonplace is modern democracies.”
On 17th October, the Current Affairs Committee of the Council of Europe’s Congress of Local and Regional Authorities decided to prepare a report on LGBT persons’ rights. Ms Yoomi Renström (Sweden) will be the rapporteur. This document will deal with the role of local and regional authorities in insuring respect of LGBT people's rights.
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 »
The launching of the "Action Plan of Measures for non-discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity" took place in Tirana, organized by the Albanian government, as part of the LGBT Project.
The Seminar on Police Training relating to LGBT issues, organized by the LGBT Project, took place in Budva and brought together the six partner countries of the Council of Europe LGBT Project: Council of Europe country coordinators, a representative from each Ministry of Interior, Heads of Police Training and relevant NGOs.
The start-up conference of the Council of Europe LGBT Project in Serbia took place in Belgrade and gathered national stakeholders working in the field of LGBT issues.