LGBTI equality and human rights in Europe and Central Asia

ILGA-Europe’s statement on the Transgender Day of Remembrance

ILGA-Europe joins its voice on the occasion of the Transgender Day of Remembrance on 20 November. This Day was established following a murder of Rita Hester in 1998 and serves as a reminder of existing prejudice, hatred and discrimination against trans people.

The Transrespect-versus-Transphobia project which monitors the murders of trans people worldwide shows that since January 2008 in Europe alone, 45 trans people were killed in 10 European countries (Turkey – 18; Italy – 14; Spain – 3; UK - 3; Germany – 2; Albania – 1; Poland – 1; Portugal – 1; Russia – 1; and Serbia – 1), and these are only known and/or reported cases.

Such shocking violation of the fundamental right to life is a European concern and therefore requires a European response. In this respect, ILGA-Europe has been working closely with Transgender Europe and other organisations to ensure that European institutions take the rights of trans people seriously.

Progress in 2011

In April 2011, ILGA-Europe welcomed the adoption of the Council of Europe’s Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence (CAHVIO) which is the first legally binding instrument in the world creating a comprehensive legal framework to prevent violence, to protect victims and to end with the impunity of perpetrators and includes explicit reference to transgender people. ILGA-Europe enjoys an observant status in the CAHVIO committee and actively worked to ensure that the Convention covers also lesbian, bisexual and trans women. Now it is the high time for the Member States of the Council of Europe to ratify this Convention.

Additionally, in May 2011, ILGA-Europe also welcomed the European Commission’s proposal for a package of legislative measures to strengthen victims’ rights in the European Union including a proposal for a new directive establishing minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime which would improve the existing Framework Decision on the standing of victims in criminal proceedings. The proposal, which took on board ILGA-Europe’s call for inclusion of LGBTI people who fall victims of crime, clearly states that the purpose of such assessment and establishing the nature of the crime includes ‘bias crime’, and amongst other characteristics includes a clear reference to gender and gender identity and sexual orientation. Prior to the proposal, ILGA-Europe provided a number of policy documents to the European Institutions to ensure such references. We now urge the Member States of the European Union to support and adopt these legislative proposals.

Further EU legislation is needed

Moreover, ILGA-Europe calls upon the European Union’s institution’s to extend the Framework decision on combating racism and xenophobia and to cover also such grounds as transphobia and homophobia.

Solid legal measures addressing transphobic and homophobic hatred and violence are urgent as without them more lives are likely to be lost due to a sense of impunity by perpetrators. The European Institutions must react swiftly and firmly to prevent further deaths, hatred and discrimination which trans people still subjected to in Europe.