Discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity
The Steering Committee for Human Rights (CDDH) has been entrusted by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe with the task of conducting work aimed to prevent and redress any discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity as well as to reinforce the equal rights and dignity of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons (LGBT).
On the basis, in particular of adopted texts by the Council of Europe Parliamentary assembly, the CDDH prepared Recommendation CM/Rec(2010)5 on measures to combat discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity. It was adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 31st March 2010.
The activity was conducted from 2009 to 2013.
Follow-up to Recommendation CM/Rec(2010)5
At their 1151st meeting of September 2012, Ministers’ Deputies asked the CDDH to prepare a questionnaire on the implementation of Recommendation CM/Rec(2010)5 of the Committee of Ministers on measures to combat discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity and to transmit it to member states.
The CDDH collected replies until 31 January 2013. On this basis, the CDDH finalised its report on the implementation of Recommendation CM/Rec(2010)5, at its 77th meeting from 19 to 22 March 2013, and transmitted it to the Ministers’ Deputies according to their request.
Since then, the Parliamentary Assembly has adopted several other texts, notably Recommendation 1915(2010) on discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity from 2010, on the basis of a report containing a thorough analysis of the situation in CoE member states of existing stereotypes, prejudices, factors and forms of discrimination towards LGBT persons, and Resolution 1728(2010). Recently, the Assembly has reiterated its deep concern about the infringements at LGBT persons’ human rights in Recommendation 2021(2013) and Resolution 1948(2013) "Tackling discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity".
Congress of Local and Regional authorities
Given the role played by local authorities in authorising or banning LGBT events, the Congress of Local and Regional authorities adopted in 2007 Recommendation 211(2007) on freedom of assembly and expression by LGBT persons. In this recommendation, it invited member states to ensure that fundamental rights of LGBT are implemented at local level, including their access to a court in case of restrictions or bans of specific events.
Commissioner for human rights
The Commissioner for human rights has also been very active in regularly addressing the question of homophobia, hate speech and intolerance. In 2009, he has published an Issue Paper on Human Rights and Gender Identity. In 2010, he carried out, in co-operation with the EU Fundamental Rights Agency, a comparative study on homophobia, transphobia and discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity in Council of Europe member states.
European Court of Human Rights
Finally, the case-law of the European Court has been essential in combating discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. It has recognized violations of the Convention, when such violations took place, insofar as the human rights of LGBT persons were at stake (case-law factsheets on homosexuality, gender identity and sexual orientation).