European Region of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association

Council of Europe takes major initiatives to combat discrimination against LGBT people

47 Council of Europe member states commit to stepping up organisation's work to combat discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity.

In a very important development for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities across Europe, representatives of the 47 Council of Europe member states have committed to stepping up the organisation's work to combat discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Action is to be taken at three levels:

  • The Committee of Ministers (which consists of member state Foreign Ministers) is to issue a declaration on combating discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity, and the need to ensure respect for the human rights of LGBT people
  • An intergovernmental expert committee is to examine measures to avoid discrimination against LGBT partners
  • All committees involved in intergovernmental co-operation are to take account in their work of the need for member states to avoid discrimination against LGBT people and to make proposals for specific activities designed to strengthen their rights.

In deciding on these actions, the Council of Europe has strongly reaffirmed its commitment to the equal rights and dignity of LGBT people.

ILGA-Europe Executive Director, Patricia Prendiville commented: "This is a historic development. For the first time since the foundation of the Council of Europe nearly 60 years ago, its executive committee, the Foreign Ministers of the 47 member states, is to issue a formal declaration in support of LGBT rights, and to engage the whole organisation in combating discrimination against LGBT people."

ILGA-Europe's Council of Europe adviser, Nigel Warner added: "Much of the credit for this great step forward goes to LGBT human rights defenders in Central and Eastern Europe. Their courageous work in advocating for LGBT rights has revealed the appalling extent of homophobia and transphobia in many countries, and shocked the Council of Europe into taking action".

For more information please contact

Nigel Warner at +44 20 7278 1496

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: www.ilga-europe.org

(2) For background on the Council of Europe, see: www.coe.int/T/e/Com/about_coe/

(3) For a media release by the Council of Europe: www.coe.int/t/dc/press/news/20080703_cm_en.asp?

(4) For the text of the decisions by the Committee of Ministers: https://wcd.coe.int/ViewDoc.jsp?Ref=CM/Del/Dec(2008)1031/4.3ab&Language=lanEnglish&Ver=app4&Site=CM&BackColorInternet=9999CC&BackColorIntranet=FFBB55&BackColorLogged=FFAC75

https://wcd.coe.int/ViewDoc.jsp?Ref=CM/Del/Dec(2008)1031/4.3c&Language=lanEnglish&Ver=original&Site=CM&BackColorInternet=9999CC&BackColorIntranet=FFBB55&BackColorLogged=FFAC75

https://wcd.coe.int/ViewDoc.jsp?Ref=CM/Del/Dec(2008)1031/4.3ab&Language=lanEnglish&Ver=app5&Site=CM&BackColorInternet=9999CC&BackColorIntranet=FFBB55&BackColorLogged=FFAC75