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

Today is Human Rights Day

Today is International Human Rights Day when the world marks the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. On 13 December, leaders of the EU member states will gather in Brussels to sign the Reformed Treaty which includes the Charter of Fundamental Rights. The Charter is the first international treaty containing explicit prohibition of sexual orientation discrimination.

The Reform Treaty was agreed earlier this year in Lisbon by the EU member states’ leaders and it replaces the proposal for an EU Constitution defeated by referenda in France and the Netherlands and eventually abandoned by the EU.

ILGA-Europe recognises the significant development that the signing of the Reform Treaty shall bring with it in EU law, and the implications that it may have for the advancement of the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people within Europe. The Charter is the first EU document that brings together the whole range of civil, political, economic and social rights provided in a number of international conventions. Undoubtedly the Charter, which will come into force 2009 after all EU member states ratify it, will provide a new opportunity for LGBT people to address and challenge discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and we look forward to seeing how the European Court of Justice is going to interpret the Charter.

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

“While welcoming the first ever international treaty containing an explicit ban on sexual orientation discrimination, we are disappointed by the decision of the UK and Polish governments to opt out of their duty to provide their citizens with the same rights as the rest of EU citizens by not ratifying the Charter. While the reasons for not ratifying the Charter are different in both countries, we believe the lack of unanimity among the EU member states weakens the strength and authority of this significant document. “

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: www.ilga-europe.org

(2) More about the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/charter/default_en.htm