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

EU hosts first ever Equality Summit and inaugurates Year of Equal Opportunities for All

Tomorrow in Berlin over 450 delegates from across Europe, including a delegation of ILGA-Europe, to launch the 2007 European Year of Equal Opportunities for All at the first ever European Equality summit – a joint initiative by the European Commission and the German Presidency of the EU.

Prior to the official kick-off of the Year, the European Commission released recent Eurobarometer data on discrimination in Europe which reveals that one in two persons in Europe considers discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation to be widespread. The survey also shows that people in Europe are least aware of the legislation prohibiting discrimination on the basis of age (31%) and sexual orientation (30%).

ILGA-Europe acknowledges the advances made since the EU ban on sexual orientation discrimination in employment, but points out that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people throughout Europe continue to face humiliation, discrimination and even violence in their everyday life.

ILGA-Europe calls on everyone to use this Year to make Europe a safe place for LGBT people to be who they are:

  • at work: good laws need to be properly implemented and promoted; harassment and discrimination need to be tackled;
  • at school: homophobic and transphobic bullying need to be prohibited; children and youth need to be taught about differences, diversity and respect;
  • at home: same-sex partners and their children deserve the same recognition and protections as married partners and their children;
  • on the street: crimes motivated by homophobia and transphobia need to be recognised, properly investigated and punished;
  • within the society: the right to peaceful demonstration of LGBT people and of protection from violent attacks need to be guaranteed by States;
  • in everyday life: people need to have access to a home, to health care, to social benefits, irrespective of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.

Patricia Prendiville, Executive Director of ILGA-Europe, said:

“We believe the European Year of Equal Opportunities for All is a great opportunity to address prejudice and discrimination which unfortunately still exist in Europe on the basis of various grounds. In terms of sexual orientation discrimination, ILGA-Europe sets three specific points we want to see achieved by the end of this year:

  • to extend protection against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation to social protection (including social security and healthcare), social advantages, education, access to goods and services, including housing
  • to achieve full recognition of same-sexunions registered in one EU member states by all other members states
  • to give visibility to LGBT people and challenge their invisibility and exclusion in society by involving them in actions and decision-making at national and European level.”

Ends

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) Official website of the 2007 European Year of Equal Opportunities for All: http://ec.europa.eu/employment_social/eyeq//index.cfm?cat_id=SPLASH (in German, English and French)

(3) Our section on the European Year 2007: www.ilga-europe.org/europe/campaigns_projects/2007_european_year_of_equa...

(4) Full Eurobarometer report on Discrimination in Europe is available at: http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/archives/eb_special_en.htm#263