15.05.2012 - Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbj├Şrn Jagland has warned
that discrimination and prejudice against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender
people continues to blight the lives of millions of Europeans and cannot be left
unanswered. In a statement issued today he said:
still face intolerant attitudes and social barriers across most, if not all,
Council of Europe member states. Recent judgments of the European Court of Human
Rights point at unjustified bans or administrative obstacles imposed on gay
pride parades. They underline problems related to discrimination in granting
social rights such as the right to employment. A number of applications pending
before the Court concern the incrimination of propaganda of homosexuality and
could lead to violations of freedom of expression. The introduction of such
legislation has often started at the local or regional level but in recent
months is finding an echo at national level in some countries.
2011 report of the Commissioner for Human Rights on discrimination on grounds of
sexual orientation and gender identity in the 47 Council of Europe member states
highlights a range of additional issues, such as access to health care and
education, gender recognition, and recognition of family life. Homophobic
statements by politicians are also pinpointed.
states have taken important steps forward in recent years to secure equality
before the law for LGBT people, for example in outlawing discrimination on the
grounds of sexual orientation, and in recognising same-sex civil partnerships.
At European level we have made significant progress with the adoption two years
ago of the Committee of Ministers recommendation on the issue, and with the
conference organised this March as part of the UK Chairmanship.
In the Council
of Europe we are responding through our institutions and through the
establishment of an LGBT Unit within the Secretariat. The Council of Europe is
now working with six countries - Albania, Montenegro, Italy, Serbia, Latvia and
Poland - to put in place projects on this topic, and I encourage other countries
to join this initiative.
foremost, national authorities have a responsibility to ensure that their
countries meet international commitments, including responding to negative steps
taken at local or regional level. Political leaders also bear the
responsibility to speak out immediately and strongly against any demonstrations
or statements of intolerance or homophobia, especially those made by other
For more information see: www.coe.int / www.coe.ge