LGBTI equality and human rights in Europe and Central Asia

16th ILGA-Europe’s Annual Conference concluded in Dublin

On 21 October, the 16th ILGA-Europe’s Annual Conference concluded in Dublin. 235 lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) activists, European and national politicians, representatives of other organisations from 42 countries gathered in the Irish capital from 18 to 21 October 2012 for the largest annual event on LGBTI rights in Europe.

Conference participants had fruitful debates around the conference theme “Advancing LGBTI equality in challenging economic times” as well as several other issues over the four days.

Martin K.I. Christensen, Co-Chair of ILGA-Europe’s Executive Board, said:

“The debates at the Conference indicated that the current economic crisis represents an undeniable challenge for the advancement of human rights and equality, including the human rights of LGBTI people. The crisis also provides fertile ground for the extreme and populist rhetoric which creates a less favourable political climate. We see that at the European institutions level and also at the national and local levels.

However, while the situation is very challenging, participants did identify ways to move forward. It became clear through our debates that the case for equality and diversity needs to be reiterated more than ever. Our movement has to be proactive and actively engaged even more now to ensure that human rights issues are not being removed or pushed down the priority list under the pretexts of having ‘more important economic issues’ to deal with first. Equality and social justice are not luxury items, they are essential components of economic recovery.’’

Gabi Calleja, Co-Chair of ILGA-Europe’s Executive Board, added:

“As usual, our Conference aims to support the national LGBTI organisations and to facilitate a dialogue between civil society and the authorities. We are very happy that this year’s Conference also brought together several Irish LGBTI organisations.

We are also happy that the presence of ILGA-Europe in Ireland gave us an opportunity to show our solidarity and support for the Irish trans community and to contribute to drawing attention to the inequality and discrimination that trans people continue to face. Our Rainbow Europe map show that while the country is making good progress on LGB human rights issues, when it comes to human rights of trans people, Ireland has still a lot of work to do. During the Conference, this issue received a lot of attention and media coverage and we hope that the legacy of this debate will contribute to the adoption of gender recognition legislation that fully respects human rights standards.”

During the Annual Conference, representatives of ILGA-Europe membership also elected new members to the Executive Board. Five new members elected for a two-year mandate are:

  • Gabi Calleja (Malta)
  • Joyce Hamilton (The Netherlands)
  • Mirosława Makuchowska (Poland)
  • Pierre Serne (France)
  • Brian Sheehan (Ireland)

Konstantina Kosmidou (Greece) and Yuri Guaiana (Italy) were elected as a reserve Board member.

The other five members of the ILGA-Europe’s Executive Board for the next year are:

  • Louise Ashworth (UK)
  • Martin K.I. Christensen (Denmark)
  • Paulo Côrte-Real (Portugal)
  • Sanja Juras (Croatia)
  • Tanja Lehtoranta (Finland)

Maria Sjödin (Sweden) and Martin K.I. Christensen (Denmark) were elected as European representatives at ILGA World’s Executive board for two years.

The Conference also approved Riga (Latvia) as the host city for the ILGA-Europe’s Annual Conference in 2014.

This conference was organised in partnership with the Dublin Organising Committee ILGA-Europe Conference 2012 which consists of Irish national and regional lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender organisations including GLEN, BelongTo, TENI, LinC, The Cork Gay Project, Dundalk Outcomers, Marriagequality, Outhouse, LGBT diversity,The NLGF and Dublin Pride.