Human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people (LGBTI)
Despite progress in many areas over the last decades, people in Europe are still stigmatised because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. Many lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) persons cannot fully enjoy their universal human rights. They run a risk of becoming victims of hate crime and may not receive protection when attacked in the street by fellow citizens.
Some LGBTI organisations are denied registration or are banned from organising peaceful meetings and demonstrations in Europe. The freedom of expression of LGBTI people has also been subject to unjustified restrictions. Many LGBTI persons have fled to Council of Europe member states from countries where their human rights are not protected and they may even risk being tortured or executed because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Too few opinion leaders and leading politicians have taken a firm stand against homophobic and transphobic expressions, discrimination and violence. The Commissioner for Human Rights has therefore put the human rights of LGBTI persons and the fight against discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation, gender identity and sex characteristics firmly on his agenda.
The Commissioner regularly raises this topic with authorities in member states, and has expressed his concerns in country monitoring reports and specific thematic publications, such as the Issue Paper on Human Rights and Gender Identity.
In 2011, the Commissioner launched a detailed report on 'Discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity', covering all the 47 member states of the Council of Europe. In May 2015 the Commissioner published an Issue Paper on human rights and intersex people.
Human rights and intersex people (2015)
Traces the steps which have already been taken towards understanding and responding to the situation of intersex people from an ethical and human rights perspective. It urges governments to end medically unnecessary “normalising“ treatment of intersex people when it takes place without their free and fully informed consent. It also suggests ways forward in terms of protection against discrimination, adequate recognition of sex on official documents and access to justice.
- Poland should stop the stigmatisation of LGBTI people
- Commissioner urges Hungary’s Parliament to postpone the vote on draft bills that, if adopted, will have far-reaching adverse effects on human rights in the country
- The Commissioner calls on the Russian investigating authorities to take urgent action in the case of Mr Salman Tepsurkayev, abducted in September and subjected to torture in Chechnya
- The Republic of Moldova should ratify the Istanbul Convention, improve its response to hate speech and advance access to quality healthcare, affordable housing and social inclusion for all
- Stronger commitment needed to combat racism, fight gender stereotypes and increase media freedom in Bulgaria
- Report on Armenia recommends measures to improve women’s rights, protection of disadvantaged or vulnerable groups, and establishing accountability for past human rights violations