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

ILGA-Europe launched shadow directive for further protection against sexual orientation discrimination

Today at the European Parliament, ILGA-Europe in cooperation with the European Parliament’s Intergroup on Gay and Lesbian Rights, launched a Shadow Directive on Equal Treatment of Persons Irrespective of Sexual Orientation which aims at extending protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation to areas outside employment such as social protection, social benefits, education, provisions of goods and services, and housing.

Currently discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in the European Union is only prohibited in employment. Discrimination on the basis of gender and race is banned not only in employment but also in other areas. The Shadow Directive seeks to extend protections from discrimination which already exists on the basis of gender and race to discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

Professor Mark Bell, author of the Shadow Directive, introduced the document and explained its rationale and its scope. The proposed Shadow Directive promotes social inclusion, combat multiple discrimination, harmonise the legal framework of the EU anti-discrimination legislation and establish a minimum European benchmark for national law.

Belinda Pyke, Director of the European Commission’s unit dealing with equality and discrimination issues, provided the Commission’s response to these document by highlighting two particular items: the Commission has already completed a mapping exercise on anti-discrimination legislation in EU member states and currently is working on assessing the impact of the proposed legislation, including the financial and legal implications of extending sexual orientation discrimination to areas other than employment.

Professor Olivier de Schutter highlighted foreseeable challenges to the adoption of a new anti-discrimination Directive. In particular, he spoke of the need to find a balanced approach between protecting persons from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and for respect for freedom of religion and belief.

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

“This is a very important initiative aimed at achieving one of our main objectives for this year which is the European Year of Equal Opportunities for All – harmonisation of EU anti-discrimination laws and establishing the same protection against sexual orientation discrimination which already exists for discrimination on grounds of gender and race.

We feel there is will and determination within the European institutions to enhance anti-discrimination legislation and we encourage the Commission to take political leadership on this issue.”

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) Discrimination based on sexual orientation is banned by the European Council Directive 2000/78/EC of 27 November 2000 establishing a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation

(3) Text of Shadow Directive on Equal Treatment of Persons Irrespective of Sexual Orientation which aims at extending protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation is available on our website: www.ilga-europe.org/europe/news/ilga_europe_launched_shadow_directive_fo...