LGBTI equality and human rights in Europe and Central Asia

ILGA-Europe launches new campaign “Come out"

Tomorrow at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, ILGA-Europe launches its campaign on the European elections which are taking place on 22-25 May 2014.

The campaign will be launched by Euro parliamentarians and candidates for the next term from the five largest political groups signing the campaign Come Out election Pledge:

  • Roberta Metsola (EPP - European People’s Party)
  • Sylvie Guillaume (S&D - Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats)
  • Sophie in ’t Veld (ALDE – Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe)
  • Ulrike Lunacek (The Greens/EFA – European Free Alliance)
  • Dennis De Jong (GUE/NGL – Confederal Group of the European United left – Nordic Green Left)

The aim of our campaign is twofold. Firstly, we want to ensure that the candidates for the next European Parliament and the European Commission express their determination, if elected, to continue those institutions’ commitment to human rights generally and LGBTI equality in particular. As a sign of their commitment, ILGA-Europe and its members will be approaching the candidates and inviting them to sign our 10 point Pledge. The Pledge summarises the key issues that ILGA-Europe wants to see advanced at the EU level over the next five years.

Gabi Calleja, Co-Chair of ILGA-Europe’s Executive Board, said:
The European Parliament has always been the most active and committed EU institution in relation to the promotion and protection of human rights. At a time when the EU and the values of dignity, equality and respect for all which are at the core of the Union are being challenged by the rise of different forms of extremisms, in particular nationalism and religious extremism, it is more important than ever that the European Parliament remains a strong champion of human rights.

In the coming five years, we need strong commitments from future Euro parliamentarians to ensure the European Parliament will continue to be a “human rights watchdog” which holds other EU institutions and Member States accountable to the EU’s founding principles.”

Secondly, the campaign aims to energise ILGA-Europe's membership, organisations and individuals across the European Union, to take active part in this year’s elections. It is a known and unfortunate fact that the European Parliament elections 2009 witnessed the lowest turnout in the history of the European elections – 43%.

Paulo Côrte-Real, Co-Chair of ILGA-Europe’s Executive Board, said:
Our message is simple: if you stay at home and don’t vote, others will. Only by engaging with the candidates and actually voting can the LGBTI concerns be heard, our interests represented, and our rights protected.

There is no time for complacency. Euro sceptics and far right movements are gaining momentum and their voters are very enthusiastic and active. This is our opportunity to vote and to ensure the European Union remains committed to human rights issues and LGBTI equality.

Our campaign website will:

  • contain an interactive EU map which will reflect how many candidates in each EU Member State have joined the ILGA-Europe Pledge;
  • explain why the European elections are important and where to find more information about the elections;
  • provide a tool kit of what organisations and individuals across the European Union can do to get involved.

Come Out campaign.