The Advisory Council welcomes the statement by Eva Kjer Hansen, Minister for Equal Opportunities of Denmark, on behalf of the Chair of the Committee of Ministers, paying tribute to all those who are promoting the rights of LGBTI people and fighting discrimination and prejudices. The Council of Europe is committed to ending homophobia and transphobia in its member States and, in 2010, adopted the first international instrument proposing specific measures to combat discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The Advisory Council also welcomes the current review process of the implementation of this Committee of Ministers recommendation to member states.
Despite this, discrimination against LGBTQI youth remains a reality in Europe, where the progress that has been made in some states is backtracking as populist and conservative political forces once again challenge the principles of equality and non-discrimination. The Advisory Council on Youth calls on policymakers, national, regional and local authorities and citizens, to speak up and take action to protect the human rights of LGBTQI persons.
Other recent examples of the positive impact of the Council of Europe action to combat this discrimination include: new legislation to recognise and protect LGBT couples and families; the adoption of legal gender recognition laws; the launch of national action plans on LGBTI persons’ rights; exchanges of good practice and know-how on LGBTI inclusive local and regional policies; the Parliamentary Assembly resolution promoting the human rights of and eliminating discrimination against intersex people; the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities’ resolution on guaranteeing LGBT people’s rights: a responsibility for Europe’s towns and regions; as well as the adoption of Committee of Ministers recommendation to member States on young people’s access to rights and the No Hate Speech Movement Youth Campaign.
However, young LGBTQI persons still face obstacles in all spheres of life to fully realise and enjoy their human rights. These obstacles include prejudice and discrimination, resistant educational systems and the targeting or negation of the work of civil society organisations.
LGBTQI people, and in particular LGBTQI rights activists and organisations, have become the victims of violent attacks and slander in several countries, incidents that are not always sufficiently investigated. Furthermore, some state authorities fail to protect demonstrators from violence. Administrative obstacles, including lack of funding for LGBTQI organisations, impede progress towards equality in Europe. The shrinking space for civil society organisations is a growing issue in the Council of Europe member States and the Advisory Council on Youth has expressed its concern over the continued targeting of LGBTQI human rights defenders.
The Advisory Council on Youth calls on member States to renew their efforts to address these critical human rights issues and to comply with their human rights obligation to protect, promote and fulfil the rights of all without discrimination.
The opinions expressed in this statement are those of the Advisory Council on Youth and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the Council of Europe.