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.

2022 Edition 2022 Edition
Council of Europe Strasbourg 16 May 2022
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IDAHOT: LGBTI persons fleeing war face specific risks and need protection

European states should pay attention to the specific challenges faced by LGBTI asylum seekers fleeing war, declared Council of Europe Secretary General Marija Pejčinović Burić, the current President of the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers, the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Luigi Di Maio and the incoming President of the Committee of Ministers, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ireland Simon Coveney, ahead of the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT) on 17 May.

“In Europe, we are still a long way from the full inclusion of LGBTI persons, who continue to face discrimination, stigmatisation and even violence. Armed conflicts aggravate the vulnerability of LGBTI persons and expose them to additional risks and abuses.”

“We must show our concern for all those fleeing the horrors of war. In line with the Council of Europe’s Recommendation on measures to combat discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity, we encourage European states to demonstrate solidarity towards all people seeking refuge on their territory, including LGBTI persons, to protect them and to cater for their specific needs.”

According to civil society organisations, specific challenges faced by LGBTI persons in Ukraine, and those fleeing the conflict and seeking asylum, include the absence of identification documents matching their gender identity, the risk of facing homophobia and transphobia from staff at internal and international checkpoints, the risk of harassment in mass accommodation centres, difficulties for transgender and intersex people with continuing hormone and other medical treatment in host countries and the risk of discrimination in gaining access to safe shelters and long-term housing as same-sex couples and families.

The theme of this year’s IDAHOT is “Our Bodies, Our Lives, Our Rights”.

 Statement by European Commissioner for Human Rights

 'On 17 May and every day, we stand firm against LGBTI-phobia' says PACE committee

 Congress Rapporteur urges cities and regions to be safe havens for LGBTI civil society under pressure

 Video: case law of the European Court of Human Rights and sexual orientation

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.

What is right to equality and freedom from discrimination and how is it protected under the European Convention on Human Rights? See some examples of how the ECHR works to promote equal rights.

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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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