Назад Stronger political will needed to guarantee the future of freedom and equality for all, say European leaders at IDAHOT+ Forum

Stronger political will needed to guarantee the future of freedom and equality for all, say European leaders at IDAHOT+ Forum

Addressing challenges to the human rights of LGBTI persons in Europe – including clampdowns on PRIDEs, efforts to undermine human rights defenders, and a rise in violent attacks on LGBTI people – is the focus of the 11th European IDAHOT+ Forum held by the Council of Europe and the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science of the Netherlands.  This year’s annual event is taking place in The Hague (Netherlands) ahead of the International Day Against Homophobia, Lesbophobia, Biphobia, Transphobia and Intersexphobia on 17 May.

The overarching theme of the Forum is “The Future of Freedom and Equality in Europe”. From 14 to 16 May, high-level European policymakers are discussing the ways to achieve the full enjoyment of human rights for LGBTI persons, a goal yet to be fully realised. 

Robbert Dijkgraaf, Minister for Education, Culture and Science of the Netherlands, the country that initiated the first edition of the European IDAHOT+ Forum back in 2013, said: “Stop talking about inclusion. Talk about expansion. Because it's not about whether you fit into our society. It's about whether society expands to provide space for you. When society grows, it creates a broader and richer environment for everyone to enjoy.”

The Council of Europe Deputy Secretary General Bjørn Berge addressed the core of the current problems saying: “Rights are being targeted and undermined – fuelled by extreme populism, nationalism and anti-rights movements. So we must do even more. Central to these efforts will be our Committee of Experts on Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression and Sex Characteristics. This will shape a new Strategy for the Equality of Rights of LGBTI persons and help overcome some of the obstacles that many LGBTI people face throughout many of our 46 member states.”

European Commissioner for Equality Helena Dalli, said: "On the occasion of the 2024 European IDAHOT+ Forum, I reaffirm the European Commission's commitment to make the European Union an #LGBTIQFreedomZone, where everyone is free to be themselves and love who they want. We stand against discrimination, violence, and hatred faced by LGBTIQ individuals, and promote a world in which equality is a daily experience enjoyed by all. Therefore, we are implementing the EU LGBTIQ Equality Strategy and call upon Member States to concurrently adopt and implement national LGBTIQ equality strategies to guarantee freedom and safety to LGBTIQ persons."

A joint Declaration signed by ministers of more than 30 European states is on the agenda of the ministerial meeting held in parallel with the IDAHOT+ Forum.

Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Michael O' Flaherty emphasised: “This Forum sends a timely reminder that the fight for the rights of LGBTI people is a matter of applying human rights equally to everyone. I find hope in seeing more states endorsing the Forum’s Declaration this year. Recognising states’ obligation to dismantle the barriers that prevent LGBTI people from exercising their rights freely and equally is a core part of delivering on the universal promise of human rights, and of building rule-based, democratic societies in Europe.”

In her closing remarks, Her Majesty Queen Máxima of the Netherlands, emphasised how important it is to be open and honest about feelings, without having to feel any form of shame. “What connects us all today is the conviction that everyone is entitled to be themselves, he, she or them.”

The 17th of May was chosen as the date to mark the International Day Against Homophobia, Lesbophobia, Biphobia, Transphobia and Intersexphobia, to commemorate the decision to stop classifying homosexuality as a mental disorder and strike it out from the International Classification of Diseases of the World Health Organisation in 1990 on that day, thus ending a century of medical homophobia

In conclusion of the IDAHOT+ Forum, on the 16th of May, a special ‘rainbow’ train will bring selected participants from The Hague to Brussels where on the 17th of May the Belgian EU European Council Presidency will host a conference titled “Pride Alliances and Policy: Towards a Union of Equality” on advancing LGBTI rights in the European Union.

 Speech by Bjørn Berge, Deputy Secretary General

 Speech by the Commissioner for Human Rights

International Day against Homophobia: Congress reiterates its commitment to combating discrimination against LGBTIQ people at local level

Deputy Secretary General Strasbourg 15 May 2024
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