LGBTI equality and human rights in Europe and Central Asia

On IDAHO ILGA-Europe gets first European City Mayors’ signatures for its pride campaign

For the third time, today, the world marks International Day against Homophobia. Homophobia is an irrational fear and dislike of homosexuality and of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.

Similar to racism, xenophobia or sexism, where fear and dislike is targeted at particular groups of people, homophobia leads to prejudice, discrimination and even violence against LGBT people.

Unfortunately homophobia still exists and is manifest in many ways in Europe. This year ILGA-Europe draws particular attention to one expression – the limitation of LGBT peoples’ right to peaceful demonstration and expression. Two weeks ago we launched a campaign targeting the Mayors of European Cities and asking them to support an appeal which will be sent to the Mayors of those European cities where LGBT people were denied permission to organise their demonstrations and pride festivals, or face severe resistance and/or violence.

The fist signatories and support messages came from Bertrand Delanoë, Mayor of Paris (France) and co-President of CGLU (United Cities & Local Governments), Eleni Mavrou, Mayor of Nicosia (Cyprus), and Job Cohen, Mayor of Amsterdam (Netherlands), Ernst Wohlwend, Mayor of Winterthur (Switzerland) and Ken Livingstone, Mayor of London (UK). The appeal was also signed by Monica Macovei, Human Rights Lawyer, and former Minister of Justice of Romania.

Eleni Mavrou, Mayor of Nicosia, said: “We believe that Mayors and city authorities in general can and should play a leading role in promoting respect and human rights for all residents and guests of European cities.”

Job Cohen, Mayor of Amsterdam, said: “The City of Amsterdam wholeheartedly supports equality and human rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people throughout Europe and strongly condemns violations of the freedom of assembly and expression of any European citizen, including LGBT people. These values are at the heart of Europe and Amsterdam aims to be a city where these values thrive and where different groups can live together peacefully while respecting diversity.

Ken Livingstone, Mayor of London, said: “I have already, and continue, to condemn all these and assert the basic human and civil right of gay men and lesbians to peacefully demonstrate. Homophobia and prejudice against lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) people remains strong, and the positive impact of high profile Gay Pride marches cannot be underestimated.

Patricia Prendiville Executive Director of ILGA-Europe, said: “We are very pleased to receive first signatories and messages of support from the Mayors and political figures. We hope that their statements will also encourage other Mayors to condemn homophobia generally, and in particular encourage them to restrain from banning or otherwise limiting LGBT pride festivals and demonstrations.

The International Day against Homophobia is a good occasion to once again raise the issue of homophobia still existing in Europe. Unfortunately LGBT people in Europe still face unfair treatment, prejudice and discrimination in all spheres of their lives. European, national and local politicians and authorities across Europe have done a lot to tackle homophobia already, but there are much more efforts, commitments and actions needed to completely eliminate this disgraceful phenomenon from Europe.”

For more information please contact
Juris Lavrikovs at + 32 2 609 54 16 / + 32 496 708 375

Notes for editors:

(1) ILGA-Europe is the European Region of the International Lesbian and Gay Association and works for equality and human rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Europe.

(2) More information on ILGA-Europe’s campaign on freedom of assembly and expression for LGBT people in Europe: