LGBTI equality and human rights in Europe and Central Asia

Annual Review 2019: Achievements gained and challenges ahead for the LGBTI movement across Europe and Central Asia

From the landmark Coman Case to the ban on LGBTI events in Ankara ILGA-Europe’s 2019 Annual Review reveals both achievements gained and challenges ahead for the LGBTI movement across the region.

The Review’s presentation of the human rights situation of LGBTI people highlights the advancement and stagnation of equality laws and policies, while providing concrete examples of on-the-ground situations in each of the 51 countries documented.

Presented to high-level EU officials in Brussels this morning, it was noted as coming at a crucial time for reflection of political, legal and social developments, with the European elections just around the corner.

“While we celebrate achievements, our movement is all too aware of the multiple challenges that lie ahead. For example, too few European countries are taking the necessary measures to ensure that LGBTI refugees and asylum-seekers are treated with adequate rights, despite the increasing urgency to do so," stated Evelyne Paradis, Executive Director for ILGA-Europe.

We also see recurring trends including widespread hate speech by public figures and religious leaders, public authorities banning or failing to protect prides and other public events, and attacks against human rights defenders. With these challenges in mind, we call on political leaders to commit to supporting and furthering the advancement of human rights that LGBTI people both need and deserve.”

While the Review provides in-depth specific examples for each country, notable highlights include:

  • Two Central Asian countries included in the Review for the first time: Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.
  • A clarification by the EU Court of Justice on the term “spouse” as inclusive of same-sex couples in the Freedom of Movement Directive – meaning all couples must be treated equally across EU member states when exercising their right to freedom of movement
  • Anti-gender and -LGBTI narratives in surrounding the Istanbul Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence
  • Increased safety and security risks for human rights defenders with targeted physical and verbal attacks, torture, deaths and infringements on freedom of assembly, association and expression reported across Europe
  • A number of Universal Periodic Review recommendations issued including on hate speech, investigation into violence, detentions and killings of LGBTI people, banning unnecessary medical interventions on intersex children and protection of freedom of assembly

This year’s Annual Review marks the first to come preceding ILGA-Europe’s Rainbow Map and Index, which will reflect the review’s findings on its release this May.

  • Now digital and newly formatted as country by country interactive factsheets, it is available to download at

  • Visit for the country-by-country ranking for 49 European countries on their respective legal and policy practices for LGBTI people, from 0-100%. The new edition of the Rainbow Map will be revealed during the IDAHOBIT in this May.

  • Watch the recording of the launch event: