LGBTI equality and human rights in Europe and Central Asia

ILGA-Europe and COC Netherlands welcome the adoption of Annual Report on Human Rights and Democracy in the World 2016

Both organisations also urge the European Union to implement LGBTI guidelines in 2017.

ILGA-Europe and COC Netherlands welcome the European Parliament’s latest Annual Report on Human Rights and Democracy in the World.

The prominence of the human rights of LGBTI people reflected in the Annual Report serves as a reminder of the EU’s role in safeguarding the human rights of LGBTI people. We especially welcome the report’s recognition of the importance of the EU’s LGBTI Guidelines adopted in 2013.

The Guidelines provide all Member State Embassies and EU Delegations with clear instructions on how to promote the rights of LGBTI persons across the world. ILGA Europe and COC Netherlands stand behind the Parliament’s call to the European Commission and EEAS to start working on a proper and active implementation of the Guidelines.

This call comes at a timely moment. A study conducted by COC Netherlands, published shortly before the EU’s Annual Report, shows that implementation of the Guidelines differs from EU Delegation to EU Delegation, and from Member State Embassy to Member State Embassy.

The study compiles feedback from 70 organisations in over 60 countries across the world about engagement with EU Delegations, and shows that while some are thorough and keen to utilise the Guidelines, others appear not to use them at all. In fact, two thirds of the respondents think the EU has missed opportunities to take action on LGBTI rights. The study overwhelmingly shows that while numerous great examples of the utilisation of the Guidelines exist, there is a lack of overall coordination, and systemic implementation. 

 “The EU Guidelines on the promotion and protection of the human rights of LGBTI people are a great tool – but we are concerned that they are not being implemented consistently” ILGA-Europe Advocacy & Programmes Officer, Daina Ruduša, commented. “In a global context of shrinking space of civil society and human rights, it’s more important than ever that the EU affirms its leadership on LGBTI issues, and human rights generally. We are pleased to see the Parliament not only recognise the importance of the Guidelines but also call on the EEAS and the Commission for more strategic and systematic implementation. We urge High Representative Federica Mogherini to take up this call without delay.”

Alexander Hammelburg, International Advocacy Officer with COC Netherlands also remarked: “As our study shows, the Guidelines are currently being implemented in a sporadic manner across EU Delegations and Member State Embassies throughout the world, largely depending on the knowledge of the Guidelines and interests of individual staff members as opposed to being a true part of the day to day engagements with third countries. Activists expect the EU to do more in the promotion and protection of LGBTI rights and to commit to its promises. The full implementation of the Guidelines is the only way in fulfilling these expectations.”