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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Council of Europe Strasbourg 15 May 2019
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Ahead of the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia marked on the 17th of May, Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland urged for justice and full protection against discrimination for all persons, irrespective of their sexual orientation, gender identity and sex characteristics, in all the Council of Europe member states.

“There must be no discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity, and this prohibition must be clearly spelled out in the law and implemented in practice in all our member States,” Thorbjørn Jagland said.

He added that the future discussions in the Committee of Ministers on the review of the 2010 Recommendation on combatting discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity will allow member states to show political will and further the progress in protecting everyone from discrimination.

The majority of the Council of Europe member states have expressly prohibited discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in their anti-discrimination legislation, or in specific laws regulating employment, education, health, goods and services. A smaller number of states have expressly banned discrimination on the gender identity basis.

Secretary General also raised the issue of medical operations required for legal gender recognition (the process of changing name and gender of transgender persons in official documents and registries).

“European states must bring their legislation and practices in line with the case law of the European Court of Human Rights in this area,” he said.

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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