For equality in diversity

The principle of equality and non-discrimination is a fundamental element in the protection of human rights. It is guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights (article 14) and was reinforced by Protocol No.12 to the Convention, which in a general manner, provides that no-one shall be discriminated against on any ground by any public authority.

Homophobic acts which have occurred in several states unhappily point to systematic violation of the fundamental rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people (LGBTI). These occurrences have also shown that in many cases such injustice is condoned and sometimes even actively supported by the very authorities whose strict duty it is to protect their citizens against all discrimination.

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Secretary General Strasbourg 14 May 2020
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Young LGBTI persons must be protected against violence at home and in public, during this crisis and always

Statement by Secretary General Marija Pejčinović Burić ahead of the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT)

European states must do more to address the specific challenges faced by young LGBTI persons, especially in times of crisis, said Council of Europe Secretary General Marija Pejčinović Burić in a statement ahead of the International Day against Homophobia on 17 May.

“The COVID-19 pandemic crisis has exacerbated the inequalities already faced by disadvantaged groups of society. LGBTI youngsters who have traditionally been stigmatised and marginalised are now exposed to an even greater risk of hate speech and violence, at home and in public".

“Social distancing and lockdown can be particularly difficult for those young people who have been rejected by their family or have not come out, who have mental health issues, or who suffer from physical or psychological violence. In addition, restrictive measures in the context of the pandemic have limited the support young LGBTI persons receive from friends, LGBTI centres, NGOs and educational establishments”.

“Governments and civil society should maintain efforts to protect young LGBTI persons by providing psycho-social and mental health support and setting up phone helplines”.

“Homelessness is also a serious problem. I encourage authorities to provide better protection for young homeless LGBTI persons, including through the provision of shelters,” the Secretary General said. According to estimates, every third young homeless person in Europe identifies as LGBTI.

The Council of Europe Recommendation on measures to combat discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity adopted 10 years ago provides guidance for European states on tackling homophobia, transphobia, biphobia and inter phobia.

 Article on our actions to protect and promote LGBTI rights

 Congress statement - Harald Bergmann: "Guaranteeing the rights of LGBTI people in our cities and regions"

Press release
Young LGBTI persons must be protected against violence at home and in public, during this crisis and always

European Court of Human Rights European Court of Human Rights

Whilst for many LGBTI people in Europe life has become easier and society more tolerant, they face still many other obstacles. The Court has been asked to judge cases involving the banning of gay pride parades and discrimination in granting social rights, with a number of applications pending on the laws which criminalise "homosexual propaganda".

Commissioner for Human Rights Commissioner for Human Rights

The Commissioner regularly raises the LGBTI topic with authorities in member states, and expresses his concerns in country monitoring reports and specific thematic publications.

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The Committee of Ministers, the Parliamentary Assembly and the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities have issued several recommendations and resolutions calling upon governments and local authorities to take the requisite measures to combat incitement to homophobia.
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