LGBTI equality and human rights in Europe and Central Asia

ILGA-Europe call for greater leadership on LGBTI equality from EU institutions and member states

ILGA-Europe today call for greater leadership on LGBTI equality from EU institutions and member states at the “High-level Ministerial Conference on LGBTIQ Equality Mainstreaming” held by the Maltese Presidency of the EU in Malta.

“The EU Commission has set out a List of Actions they are taking to progress equality for LGBTIQ people throughout Europe. This is a good base from which to build, but the critical ingredient to drive real progress on the ground for LGBTIQ people and their families will be greater leadership from the EU”, said Katrin Hugendubel, ILGA-Europe’s Advocacy Director, speaking at the conference.

All speakers (including Maltese Minister for Social Dialogue and Civil Rights, Helena Dalli, Director General of DG Justice at the EU Tiina Astola, FRA Director General Michael O’Flaherty and Vice President of the EU Parliament Ulrika Lunacek) raised the critical challenges in a changing Europe where previous certainties of fundamental shared values and freedoms are under threat.

“It is clear from EU and FRA research that the ‘silent majority’ within Europe strongly support progress on inclusion of LGBTI people. Our collective challenge is to give a voice to that majority in an atmosphere that sees increasing threats to progress on rights ” said Brian Sheehan, co-chair of ILGA-Europe’s Executive Board, moderating the conference. 

At the gathering of EU institutions, national governments and civil society organisations from throughout Europe, the need for all actors to ‘step up’ their work to lead on delivery of progress on equality and fundamental freedoms was agreed.

“Our political leaders, at EU and national levels, can build on progress over the last number of years, progress that is a core part of being in the EU, and demonstrate leadership and solidarity in defending human rights and LGBTI rights where they are currently challenged across Europe” said Hugendubel.

“It is the responsibility of governments to ensure that LGBTI people have legal protection against discrimination and homophobic and transphobic hate crimes. In the current context, where it will be difficult to get unanimity in the Council for closing those gaps on EU level, the European Commission can play a crucial role in bringing member states together and enable them to ‘step up’ in ensuring this protection exists at national level, across the EU”.