"Joining Forces to Promote and Protect the Human Rights of LGBTI Persons" was the title of this year's Annual Seminar that the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) organised for Council of Europe member states' Equality Bodies, in consultation with the European Network of Equality Bodies (Equinet). The seminar brought together about 150 participants, including heads and LGBTI focal points of equality bodies and selected national human rights institutions of Council of Europe member states, ECRI members, representatives of umbrella organisations and of key civil society organisations active in the promotion and the protection of the human rights of LGBTI people as well as of the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) Unit of the Council of Europe.
Maria Daniella Marouda, Chair of ECRI, Bjørn Berge, Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Dunja Mijatović, Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe, and Helena Dalli, the European Union Commissioner for Equality all emphasised at the opening of the seminar that combating LGBTI inequality is a shared responsibility and requires joint effort and action at every level – from the international to the local. "No one has special rights, but everyone has equal rights", to use the words of Deputy Secretary General Bjørn Berge, was one of their key messages.
During the seminar, three victims of human rights violations because of their sexual orientation or gender identity shared their stories. Speakers and participants held in-depth discussions about the case law of the European Court of Human Rights on LGBTI issues, the latest LGBTI survey carried out by the European Union Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA), legislative initiatives in different European countries, preventive action, protection of victims and strategic litigation.
All background documents related to this event as well as speeches and presentations can be found here.
Opening speeches are also available here:
- Speech by Council of Europe’s Deputy Secretary General
- Speech by the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights
Opening session of the Annual Seminar