LGBTI equality and human rights in Europe and Central Asia

January 2017


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No. 257. January 2017. In this issue...



Bodily integrity


Equality and non-discrimination


Foreign policy

Freedom of assembly

Freedom of association

Hate crime

Hate speech


Legal gender recognition

Notice board


Save the dates: Annual Conference 2017

This year, the European LGBTI movement will meet in Warsaw from 1-4 November. More information will follow soon on our website. Meanwhile, make sure to follow the Facebook event, and invite all your LGBTI activist friends and colleagues.

Job opportunity with ILGA-Europe as Fundraising Director

ILGA-Europe is looking for a Fundraising Director to work with the staff team in Brussels. Closing date for receipt of applications: Monday 13 February 2016.
Read more about the opportunity here

Call for applications: Fundraising for Litigation workshop

Is your organisation working on strategic litigation but you are finding it difficult to get funds to do the actual work? This is your chance! ILGA-Europe invites applications for the upcoming litigation workshop on Fundraising for Litigation to take place in Brussels 1-2 March 2017. The deadline for submitting your application is 6 February 18:00 CET.
Read more about the workshop here

Upcoming training - Financial Management and Funds Administration: towards Sustainable Change

Are you an activist in a European LGBTI organisation, and do you want to develop and further your skills in financial management that would contribute to ensuring your organisation’s sustainability? ILGA-Europe are organising a 3-day training on “Financial Management and Funds Administration: towards Sustainable Change” taking place on 13-15 April 2017 in Budapest, Hungary. The deadline for submitting your application is 19 February 24:00 CET.
Read more and apply here

Honouring International Holocaust Remembrance Day

On 27 January, International Holocaust Remembrance Day, anti-racism and anti-discrimination civil society organisations and activists issued a joint statement. We call on European leaders, national governments and civil society organisations to protect the fundamental rights of all citizens, regardless of their race, ethnicity, religion, disability, sexual orientation, sex characteristics, gender expression and/or gender identity.
Read the joint statement in full here

Turn on the lights – put the spotlight on race and ethnicity in the LGBTI communities

In December, we launched the campaign Turn on the lights. The campaign is a commitment from ILGA-Europe to putting race and ethnicity within the LGBTI communities centre stage. We want to learn how LGBTI activists can fight racism and discrimination within our own communities. We want turn on the lights on LGBTI people of different racial and ethnic backgrounds. We want to learn how LGBTI activists can fight racism and discrimination within our own communities. In the coming months, we commit to reaching out, engaging, and providing a platform for this necessary learning to take place.
Check out the campaign website here

Remember former ILGA-Europe-family member – Christine Loudes

It has been a month since our ILGA-Europe family was saddened to learn of the passing of our dear friend, Christine Loudes. Christine was part of the ILGA-Europe staff team from 2004-2008. At ILGA-Europe, she was working with many LGBT activists from all over Europe, and continued her deep devotion to human rights and equality for all in Amnesty International and lately at the European Institute for Gender Equality in Vilnius. Christine touched so many of our lives, and we will fondly remember her. As a kindred soul and a light in the march for equality and social justice. All of our thoughts are with her family and friends.
Read more about Christine here


Asylum case struck out by European court

M.B.v Spain, a case involving a woman seeking asylum based on her sexual orientation, has been struck out by the European Court of Human Rights. This decision from Strasbourg means that no judgment from the Court has ever found that deporting someone to a country of origin outside the Council of Europe that criminalises same-sex relations violates the European Convention on Human Rights. As one of the many civil society groups who had intervened as a third-party in the case, ILGA-Europe regret that the case was another missed opportunity for ECtHR to provide greater clarity on this issue.
Read more about the case here

Bodily integrity

Study on the rights of children in biomedicine

The Committee on Bioethics of the Council of Europe has published a study on the challenges posed to the rights of the child by scientific and technological developments in biomedicine. The study includes a section on the misguided nature of early medical interventions for intersex children.
Read more about the study here


Event in the European Parliament: How to prevent and tackle bullying & school violence

On 24 January, the European Parliament Children’s Rights Intergroup organised for the first time an event on school bullying, with a special focus on homophobic and transphobic school bullying. This event was hosted by Anna Maria Corazza Bildt (Sweden, EPP) and was an opportunity to launch the NESET report on school bullying.  Two young LGBTI people from Gay-Straight Alliance in Flanders, Belgium, shared their school experiences. Evelyne Paradis, Executive Director of ILGA-Europe also took the floor. Policy makers from Sweden and Malta presented their good practices, as well as Carolina Engström, from Friends, a NGO whose main mission is to address school bullying.
Click here to read more about the event

Equality and non-discrimination

Tajani as President of the European Parliament – but does the end justify the means?

On 17 January, the European Parliament elected Antonio Tajani (Italy, EPP) as President. Prior the election, ILGA-Europe was extremely disappointed to see that the oft-cited need for a more open, equal and principled European Union appeared to be taking a back seat to political games. In the final hours before the European Parliament met in Strasbourg to elect a new president, the European People’s Party (EPP) and the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) groups agreed to form a so-called “pro-European coalition”. This deal ensured that the EPP’s proposed candidate, Antonio Tajani, received the backing of both the EPP and a majority of ALDE in the elections for European Parliament President.
Read the ILGA-Europe statement here

Over to you, Commissioner Oettinger…

In January, Commissioner Gunther Oettinger’s started working as the confirmed Commissioner responsible for the EU’s budget and its human resource issues. In spite of several major concerns over Commissioner Oettinger’s suitability to replace Kristalina Georgieva, the fact is that the portfolio is his. And now it is time to act on the commitments made during and after the hearing with the European Parliament in the start of the month.
Read more about what we hope to see from Commissioner Oettinger here

French government launches action plan to fight hate against LGBT people

In January, the French government launched an ambitious action plan to fight hate against LGBT people. ILGA-Europe is applauding the plan. It is however to be seen how the plan will be implemented after the upcoming French presidential and general elections in April-June 2017.
Read more about the action plan here

Support open letter to the National Geographic by Czech organisation Trans*parent

ILGA-Europe has endorsed Trans*parent‘s open letter to the Editor-in-Chief of the National Geographic Magazine. The trans rights organisation from the Czech Republic points out a number of problematic issues with the Czech edition of the National Geographic’s Special Issue “Gender Revolution”.
Read how you can support the open letter here

Call for submission: The Application of Human Rights Law in relation to SOGIESC

This year is the 10th anniversary of the launch of the Yogyakarta Principles. The Yogyakarta Principles affirm binding international legal standards with which all States must comply. They articulate that all people born free and equal in dignity and rights.  In this light, ARC International is calling for submissions – no later than 17 February 2017 – on how the Yogyakarta Principles should be supplemented to reflect developments in and the current state of international human rights law with respect to sexual orientation, gender identity and sex characteristics. ILGA-Europe are preparing a submission, and we are encouraging national LGBTI organisations to submit input.
Read more about the call for submissions here

ILGA-Europe joins the Azerbaijani LGBT community for pride day

On 22 January, ILGA-Europe joined the Azerbaijani LGBT community in the in memoriam for Isa Shahmarli, the founder of AZAD LGBT group. After Isa's suicide on this day in 2014, 22 January became the Azeri LGBT pride day. The Azeri LGBT community and friends come together today to celebrate Isa's legacy and to draw attention to lack of protections for LGBT people in Azerbaijan.
To hear from activists supporting the Azeri community from outside of Azerbaijan, read a statement by Nefes LGBT Azerbaijan Alliance

More about Azerbaijan on

European Commission opens call with priority to fight discrimination based on sexual orientation

On 17 January, the European Commission opened a call for proposals for action grants to support national or transnational projects on non-discrimination. In this call, the Commission wishes to support activities which tackle at least one of the following groups at risk of discrimination: racial or ethnic minorities, persons with disabilities, older/younger people, religious minorities and LGBTI people. If your organisation is planning to apply, please contact Advocacy Director, Katrin Hugendubel, in order to coordinate proposals sent from LGBTI organisations. Deadline for propos als: 21 March, CET 17:00.

Study for policy makers on opposition to sexual and reproductive health and rights in Europe

On 12 January, a study commissioned by Member of the European Parliament Heidi Hautala (Finland, Greens) “Opposition to sexual and reproductive rights in Europe” was published. The study reveals the networks and identifies the actors who are part of the anti-choice movement that is active in the EU.
Read more about the study here

New resource: Equal opportunities for all children

In 2016, the Council of Europe published the publication “Equal opportunities for all children: Non-discrimination of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and  intersex (LGBTI) children and young people”.  The report provides an analysis of the challenges, gaps and opportunities in the field of human rights of LGBTI children. In addition, a number of good practices and policies on how to combat discrimination against children based on sexual orientation and gender identity are included in the report.
Find the resource here


Hungary: same-sex registered partners to receive all tax benefits afforded to spouses

First conference of the European Network of Parents of LGBTI+ Persons

The inaugural conference of the European Network of Parents of LGBTI+ Persons (ENP) will take place in Malta between the 21 and 22 February, 2017. The title of the conference is ‘Family: Unconditional Love’. ENP aims to work as an umbrella organisation for parent groups from Croatia, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, U.K., Ukraine and Malta.
Click here if you wish to join the conference

Foreign policy

European Parliament condemns homophobia in Indonesia

On 19 January, the European Parliament adopted a resolution in which it condemns the growing intolerance towards LGBTI people in Indonesia. In the resolution, the European Parliament “strongly condemns all acts of violence, harassment and intimidation against minorities” and “calls on the government and lawmakers to refrain from further restricting the rights of LGBTI people and ensure [that] their right to freedom of expression and assembly is guaranteed.”
Read more about the resolution on the website of the Intergroup on LGBTI Rights

Freedom of assembly

Successful Pride events held in Montenegro

The 10 Principles Civil Society Guide - How to advocate for better management of assemblies

The United Nations the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, Maina Kiai, launched the 10 Principles Civil Society Guide. The guide is designed to help civil society advance the protection and promotion of human rights in the context of assemblies domestically. The Guide provides suggestions, tools and inspiration to civil society organisations s as they consider how they might push for the implementation of the practical recommendations in their own context.
Read more about the guide here

Freedom of association

Further slide towards authoritarianism in Turkey

Earlier this month Turkey’s parliament approved a new draft constitution paving the way for a presidential system and significantly increasing President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s powers. The changes, if approved by referendum in April, would allow the president to retain ties to a political party; directly appoint officials, including ministers; eliminate the post of Prime Minister and replace it with several directly appointed Vice Presidents; allow the President to singlehandedly impose or lift a state of emergency; as well as to intervene in the judiciary. A state of emergency continues in Turkey following the attempted coup last summer, this has resulted in a severe crack down on the media, academics and NGOs, with thousands fired and jailed journalists, academics and activists, and hundreds of NGOs shut down, strongly affecting the functioning of LGBTI organisations as well. The crackdown is likely to increase if the changes pass in referendum.  
Read more about the situation in Turkey here
More about Turkey on

Hate crime

Firecracker with homophobic language at university event in Poland

On 16 January, unknown perpetrators threw a firecracker with "no fags allowed" written on in and some offensive leaflets into a room where a film screening organised by Queer UW scientific circle was being held. In reaction to this homophobic incident, which took place at the University of Warsaw, Campaign Against Homophobia has issued a statement and a letter to the Chancellor asking for intervention and offering help and support with regards to actions that could be undertaken in order to improve safety of students.
Read the statement here
More about Poland on

Trans sex worker and refugee killed in Istanbul

In December, a trans woman refugee in Istanbul was found murdered in her house in the neighbourhood, Cihangir. She was murdered by a client she met in the street where she was working. Her body was found by her friends after not hearing from her since 17 December. The deceased trans woman was seeking refuge in Turkey after running away from war conditions at her home country. The police are still looking for the suspected murderer.
Read more on the website of Pembe Hayat (in Turkish)
More about Turkey on

Seminar: Preventing and Countering All Types of Discriminatory Violence at the Local Level

On 2-3 March, European Forum for Urban Security (Efus) is organising in Vienna a seminar on countering discriminatory violence and hate crime at the local level. The aim is to discuss local approaches and strategies to counter hate and intolerance and exchange practices with representatives of local authorities, European institutions, civil society organisations and other experts. Registration for the seminar is open until 16 February 2017.
Read more about the seminar here

Facing Facts: Online course on hate crime monitoring

Starting from 20 March, the online course on hate crime monitoring within the project Facing Facts will take place. Learn about hate crime and its impact on victims and communities, how to recognise and record hate crimes and how to use data to advocate for improved responses. Students will be accompanied by experts and practitioners in the field. Deadline for applications: 5 March.
Read more about the course here

Hate speech

Resolution: Ending Cyber Discrimination and Online Hate

On 26 January, the resolution "Ending Cyber Discrimination and Online Hate" was adopted by the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly. The resolution is a useful reference point for activists working in this field. Sexual orientation and gender identity issues are mainstreamed all the way through the resolution and report.
Find more information about the resolution here


Switzerland lifts lifetime ban on blood donation

Health4LGBTI project partners meet in Verona

The Health4LGBTI pilot project team, of which ILGA-Europe is a partner, gathered in Verona to provide an overview of the main results to date and to discuss next steps for the development of the training modules in consideration of the findings. The project reviewed existing literature to learn more about the health inequalities experienced by LGBTI people and the barriers they face when accessing healthcare, with an additional focus on vulnerable intersections.
Read more about the meeting here

Legal gender recognition

Ukraine abolishes arbitrary and cruel trans health protocol

On 30 December 2016, the Decree regulating legal gender recognition and access to trans-related health care in Ukraine was repealed. Instead, a new protocol, which puts an end to the mandatory stay of 30-45 days in a closed psychiatric ward, was activated.  At the same time, other discriminatory contraindications were abolished, such as having children under 18, being married, homosexuality, intersex variations, and insufficient social adaptation. According to Ukrainian NGO Insight, the changed procedure works in practice. However, critical preconditions, such as a surgery requirement, call for further improvements.
Read more on the website of Transgender Europe
More about Ukraine on

Trans people no longer classified as mentally ill in Denmark

On 1 January 2017, the Danish Health Data Authority discontinued the use of the transgender diagnosis codes “F64 Gender identity disorders” with the underlying codes. A set of new codes for treatment are instead created in a neutral chapter, where transgender is no longer considered a disease or disorder.
Read more on the website of LGBT Denmark
More about Denmark on

New government in Lithuania: No changes on gender reassignment

The newly appointed government is skeptical about the possibility of legislating on gender reassignment procedure in Lithuania, while some politicians even propose to ban gender reassignment surgeries all together.
Read more on the website of Lithuanian Gay League
More about Lithuania on

Notice board

Save the date: Intersex Conference Vienna 2017

The conference aims to raise awareness in Austrian society and politics - and giving a European perspective by having speakers from all over the continent. There will be lectures, discussions and workshops the whole day, social programme around the conference and space for Inter* only.
Find more information about the conference here

Call for applications: Summer School in Human Rights Litigation

The Open Society Justice Initiative and Central European University invite applicants for the 2017 Summer School in Human Rights Litigation, to be held in Budapest from 10 to 14 July. The summer school provides a unique opportunity for human rights professionals to build on their experience and to develop their skills to successfully bring cases to the regional human rights systems and the UN treaty bodies, and to use those cases to achieve practical change. Deadline for applications: 14 February.
Read more about the summer school here
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