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 17 May 2021
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Let the rainbow arc bend towards justice, says Secretary General on IDAHOT Day

Progress is not even, attitudes are slow to change, and discrimination against LGBTI people remains deeply embedded in some European societies, warned Secretary General of the Council of Europe Marija Pejčinović Burić on the occasion of the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia.

While marking the progress achieved in Europe and the wider world – marriage and civil unions, adoptions rights for LGBTI persons, protection in law from workplace discrimination, from hate speech and hate crime - the Secretary General stressed that some people still fear for their lives because of their sexual orientation or their gender identity.

“There are examples of backward steps, too: hostile rhetoric from elected politicians, surges in homophobic and transphobic violence, the proclamation of so-called LGBT-free zones”, she said.

“Better laws and policies are needed, and for these to be adopted and implemented, political will and genuine commitment to equality are indispensable,” Secretary General noted.

“The rainbow arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice,” she concluded.

On the occasion of IDAHOT, the Council if Europe Secretary General Marija Pejčinović Burić is delivering a message on 18 May 2021 at the launch event of the “2021 IDAHOT+ Forum”, an initiative by the UK and Cyprus. A number of initiatives aimed at promoting rights of LGBTI persons will be carried out by the Council of Europe institutions, as well as field offices in Albania, Montenegro, Serbia, Ukraine and other countries.

 Press release
Let the rainbow arc bend towards justice, says Council of Europe Secretary General

 Statement by the Congress rapporteur on LGBTI issues, on the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia

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 her 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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