Non-Governmental Organisations

HUMAN RIGHTS COMMITTEE

Declaration adopted on 25 January 2010
CONF/HR(2010)DEC1

Support to the draft recommendation of the Committee of Ministers to member States on measures to combat discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity

(proposed by the International Lesbian and Gay Association - European Region - ILGA)

The Human Rights Committee of the Conference of INGOs of the Council of Europe,

- shares the concerns of the Committee of Ministers that instances of discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity are still widespread in Europe and that measures are needed to combat this discrimination.

- welcomes the initiative of the Committee of Ministers in calling for the preparation of a Recommendation on combating discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity, and urges the Committee of Ministers to adopt the draft approved by the Steering Committee for Human Rights."

Explanatory Note

In July 2008 the Committee of Ministers issued a message to committees involved in intergovernmental co-operation at the Council of Europe in which it:

    recalled its strong attachment to the principle of equal rights and dignity of all human beings, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons,
    emphasised that the Council of Europe's message of tolerance and non-discrimination applied to all European societies, and that discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity was not compatible with this message.
    noted that instances of discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity as well as homophobia and intolerance towards transgender persons are regrettably still widespread in Europe,
    invited all committees involved with intergovernmental co-operation to work on ways of avoiding and remedying such discrimination.

It also gave specific instructions to the Steering Committee for Human Rights (CDDH) to draft a recommendation on measures to combat discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, to ensure respect for the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons and to promote tolerance towards them.

During 2009 an inter-governmental expert committee (DH LGBT) prepared a draft Recommendation, which was discussed and approved by the Steering Committee for Human Rights in November 2009. It will come before the Committee of Ministers in February 2010.

Consistent with the terms of reference, the draft Recommendation focuses on practical legal and policy objectives, based firmly on the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights, the European Social Charter, positions taken by the Committee of Ministers, and certain other international sources of human rights law, particularly the UN bodies.
It covers a wide range of areas where LGBT people face discrimination, including the right to life, security and protection from violence, freedom of association, expression and assembly, respect for private and family life, education, health, housing, and asylum.

It is rather cautious in its approach, and certainly does not go as far as, in an ideal world, ILGA-Europe would wish. Nonetheless, we consider the draft recommendation to be a valuable step forward, and would strongly encourage the INGO Human Rights Committee to support it by adopting the above Declaration of support.

Link to draft Committee of Ministers Recommendation ;

CDDH(2009)019 Addendum IV