LGBTI equality and human rights in Europe and Central Asia

Council of Europe launches its first and the comprehensive European study on the human rights situation of LGBT people to date

Today, the Council of Europe launches its social-legal report on discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. This is the first ever report covering all 47 member states of the Council of Europe on a range of human rights issues that are pertinent to lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) people.

ILGA-Europe warmly welcomes this significant report which not only maps the legal situation but also highlights the social attitudes and opinions about LGBT people: while there is certain progress in some countries, others continue discrimination and violation of basic human rights of LGBT people.

When it comes to social attitudes, the report clearly demonstrates that LGBT people continue to be subjected to homophobia and transphobia in their everyday lives in all Council of Europe member states and those attitudes are being based on ‘outdated and incorrect information’ about sexual orientation, gender identity and gender .

The report contains a number of specific recommendations to the Council of Europe member states on how to end discrimination and ensure full equality for LGBT people. It also provides a number of recommendations on non-legislative measures such as state education programmes aiming to increase awareness and understanding of various sexual orientations and gender identities and therefore promote improvement of the social attitudes based on facts and objective information.

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

“This is a very important document which looks at the issues of equality and human rights of LGBT people from different angles and provides clear recommendations and suggestions to the Council of Europe member states. There is clear and urgent need to improve legislation to achieve full equality and respect for human rights. The legislation also needs to be supported by proper implementation plans and mechanisms to give its full and practical meaning. The report also looks at the issues of political will, social attitudes and current European consensus and again, provides a range of specific suggestions how the situation can be improved.

We hope that this report along with the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers Recommendations adopted in March and a number of the judgements by the European Court of Human Rights, will provide European countries with a solid road map towards full equality and respect of LGBT people’s human rights. We believe there is sufficient European consensus and legal foundation for such improvement, all is required to fill the existing gaps is a political will of the national governments to bring their countries in line with the expected European standard.”

Report Discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity in Europe

Council of Europe’s Committee of Minister Recommendations on measures to combat discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity, 31 March 2010

More about the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights relevant to LGBT people’s human rights