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

June 2015

No. 238. June 2015. In this issue...

ILGA-Europe

Asylum

Bias motivated speech

Education

Equality and non-discrimination

EU Eastern partnership

EU enlargement

Family

Freedom from torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment

Freedom of assembly

Foreign policy

Human rights defenders

Legal gender recognition

Police and law enforcement

Notice board


ILGA-Europe

Annual Conference 2015 - three dates to remember

Note down 30 June, 30 July and 30 August.
30 June (today) is the deadline for scholarship application for activists who would otherwise be unable to participate in the conference for financial reasons.
30 July is the deadline to submit a workshop proposal.
30 August is the deadline to register if you want to take part of the Annual Conference 2015.

Another piece of ILGA-Europe history: First European Equality Gala

The European Equality Gala, ILGA-Europe’s first official fundraising event, attracted over 350 equality champions and supporters to Brussels. Its success surpassed even the wildest expectations of the ILGA-Europe organising team.

Creating Opportunities – ILGA-Europe strategic support to address in-country situations

ILGA-Europe has launched our new programme, Creating Opportunities. Through Creating Opportunities, ILGA-Europe’s role is to leverage specific efforts of the local LGBTI movement. It does so by supporting communication campaigns addressing legislative situations or broader public discussions, giving strategic advice on the mobilisation of constituencies and other potential supporters, providing access to networks of knowledge and best practices..

Call for participants: Framing our rights and affirming common values

ILGA-Europe is inviting you to apply for Framing our rights and affirming common values - Rethinking communication to achieve sustainable change, a training course to be held on 11-13 September 2015 in Brussels. The training will be supported by an ongoing peer learning process following this session, organised in collaboration with the Public Interest Research Centre (PIRC).

Assistance in security issues for member organisations

In June ILGA-Europe organised two security events: one 3-day security in-country session for an organisation from Eastern Europe and a 2-day security training for activists from Balkan countries.

Asylum

Intervention submitted to European court on asylum case

ILGA-Europe submitted jointly written comments to the European Court of Human Rights with the AIRE Centre, Amnesty International, the International Commission of Jurists and the UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group on the asylum case, A.T. v. Sweden. The case concerns an Iranian asylum seeker threatened with expulsion from Sweden to Iran.
Find interventions from ILGA-Europe here

Bias motivated speech

Cyprus criminalises public incitement to LGBTphobic hatred and violence

In late May, the Cypriot parliament voted to criminalise public incitement to LGBTphobic hatred and violence. Depending on the offence, perpetrators could face up to three years in jail or a fine of up to €5,000, or both.

Hate speech in the EU institutions

After the European elections in May 2014, a new European Parliament was elected, and a new Commission voted in. The new European political landscape has changed, and numerous Members of the European Parliament from new or formerly absent parties made their entry in the Parliament, some expressing clear anti-human rights views. Together with ENAR (European Network Against Racism), ILGA-Europe invites you to document any incident of hate speech targeting minorities within EU institutions, perpetrated by political and institutional leaders and actors.

Education

Malta launches inspiring education policy for trans, gender variant and intersex children

On 16 June, the Maltese government launched an education policy - another ground-breaking move, inspired by the landmark Gender Expression, Gender Identity and Sex Characteristics Act passed earlier this year. The policy is the first of its kind in Europe; no other European country has a comprehensive education policy focusing on the needs of trans, gender variant and intersex children.
Read more about the policy here

Latvia approves lessons in 'constitutional morality' for school children

On 18 June, the Latvian parliament approved an amendment to its education law that oblige schools to give children 'moral education' in line with the values of the Constitution, most notably with regard to the primacy of conventional ideas of what constitutes marriage and family life. According to the Latvian Constitution, as amended in 2005, marriage is a union between a man and a woman only.

IGLYO launches resources for inclusive education

IGLYO (International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Youth and Student Organisation) has launched two resources to support students, teachers, parents, and other school stakeholders. The resources are aimed at supporting and promoting the creation of safe and inclusive learning environments that are free from bullying, harassment and discrimination.

Equality and non-discrimination

Gender equality momentum should be seized by European Commission

On 9 June, the European Parliament loudly signalled its commitment to gender equality, and more specifically to an EU strategy beyond 2015. MEPs adopted the initiative report prepared by Rapporteur Maria Noichl (S&D, DE) at a plenary session in Strasbourg. ILGA-Europe congratulate the rapporteur and the MEPs who have worked hard to secure a majority.

EU equal treatment law: the time is now!

Joint statement: six months ago, organisations representing millions of EU citizens at risk of discrimination called on EU Member States to show clear commitment on the proposed Horizontal Directive on equal treatment. In the meantime, some progress has been made and the Directive should now be adopted without further delay. Equality for All wants to debunk the lingering excuses that are still used by some Member States and remind them that there are still millions of people in the EU suffering daily from preventable discrimination..

EU statement on LGBTI rights in the Council of Europe

The EU members of the Council of Europe made a joint statement in support of LGBTI rights at the Committee of Ministers on 17 June. The countries Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iceland,
Liechtenstein, Montenegro, Norway, Serbia, and Turkey joined the statement.

Danish NGO's in joint UPR submission with LGBTI recommendations

Denmark is up for United Nations' UPR examination next year. A broad spectrum of Danish NGOs made a joint stakeholder submission. ILGA-Europe's member organisation, LGBT Denmark, succeeded in having a number of strong LGBTI recommendations included in the document concerning e.g. inclusion of gender identity and gender expression in anti-discrimination legislation, outlawing coerced surgical gendering of intersex children, and ending unequal treatment of LGBTI persons in health care.

UN report on violent abuse and discrimination of LGBT people

The United Nations' High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein launched a report on discrimination and violence against LGBT people. The report highlights actions by some countries to reduce violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity since the last report in 2011 have been overshadowed by continuing human rights violations, too often perpetrated with impunity.

Reports on discrimination in Albania, Hungary and Poland from Council of Europe

On 9 June, the Council of Europe’s anti-discrimination body ECRI presented three new country reports on Albania, Hungary and Poland. Albania was urged to guarantee full legal gender recognition, Hungary had to include the fight against homo/transphobic violence in its National Crime Prevention Strategy and Poland should add sexual orientation and gender identity to the prohibited discrimination grounds in the Criminal Code. Moreover, all three countries were urged to draw up and adopt an action plan including LGBTI issues.

To the top


EU Eastern partnership

Rights of LGBTI persons cannot be subject to compromise in EU’s relations with eastern neighbours

ILGA-Europe in cooperation with COC Nederland organised a meeting for LGBTI organisations of Armenia, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine during the historic EuroPride15 in Riga, Latvia. GENDERDOC-M, Identoba, Insight, LiGA, PINK, and WISG discussed the EU’s role in supporting equality work in their countries. Following the meeting, the organisations issued a statement, calling on the European Union to place human rights at the core of its relations with eastern neighbours, to address shrinking civil society space, and to ensure consistent and unwavering commitment to equality and non-discrimination of LGBTI persons in its external action.

EU enlargement

European Parliament calls on Turkey to improve situation LGBTI people

In the last of its annual progress reports on accession countries, the European Parliament evaluated the situation in Turkey, including the situation of LGBTI people.

Family

As the US rules on equality, Europe must wake up to consensus and recognise same-sex couples

On a momentous day for LGBTI equality campaigners, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) has ruled that state-level bans on equal marriage are unconstitutional. ILGA-Europe have campaigned for equal treatment of all couples since 1996 but the fact is that many loving and committed families remain unrecognised across Europe. Our continent’s highest human rights court should now take time to reflect on the situation as it currently stands in Europe.

Austria votes against marriage equality

On 18 June, the National Assembly of Austria took a strong stance against marriage equality. The Assembly voted against a proposed resolution to grant same-sex couples ‘the human right of equal marriage’. Out of 136 representatives, only 26 voted for and 110 against the proposal in a roll-call vote.
   

Greece proposes civil partnership rights for all

The Greek government has signalled its intention to legislate for civil partnership rights for all couples, almost 18 months after the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Greece must widen its civil partnership law to include same sex couples.
 
   

Freedom from torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment

Intervention submitted to European court on case on maltreatment of a Russian trans prisoner


Freedom of assembly

EuroPride 2015: Latvia turning its face towards equality

On 20 June, the Latvian capital of Riga hosted EuroPride, becoming the first former USSR country to do so. ILGA-Europe congratulate the organisers of this historic and successful event which brought together 5,000 people from across the continent. This year’s Europride took place in a truly festive and celebratory atmosphere, without any significant incidents.

Istanbul Pride 2015: historic for all the wrong reasons

For the first time in 12 years, Istanbul’s Pride parade was disrupted by the police on Sunday (28 June 2015) as they fired water cannons and rubber bullets at those who had peacefully gathered to celebrate diversity. The authorities had also banned the parade at the last minute. ILGA-Europe strongly condemn the actions of the police and view their actions as a severe infringement on the right to freedom of assembly in Turkey.

Foreign policy

Council of Europe condemns Kyrgyz discriminatory law proposal

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe adopted a declaration on Kyrgyzstan. The declaration is condemning the move from the Kyrgyz Parliament towards a blatantly discriminatory law which would criminalise so-called “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations”. The law  would serve only to intensify discrimination and violence against LGBTI people.

Council of Europe calls on Morocco to decriminalise homosexuality


Human rights defenders

Tribute to Pedro Zerolo

“We will not let him die’ – the words of our Co-Chair Paulo Côrte-Real accurately capture the sentiment of ILGA-Europe as a group on hearing the news of the death of Pedro Zerolo (on Tuesday, 9 June 2015). As president of ILGA-Europe member organisation FELGBT from 1998 – 2003, Pedro was an integral part of the LGBTI movement in Spain. His dedication to the fight for equal marriage rights bore fruit in 2005, the same year that he married his partner.

Legal gender recognition

Ireland agrees to self-declaration for Gender Recognition Bill

On 3 June, Ireland's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton, announced that, following the agreement of Cabinet, the application process under the Gender Recognition Bill will, for people aged 18 years or more, be based on the person's self-declaration by way of a statutory declaration. The Bill will also no longer contain the controversial 'forced divorce' clause.

Norway set to lower age limit for legal gender recognition to the age of 7

Children as young as seven would be allowed to change their legal gender under a bill proposed by Norway’s government. The proposal will bring it one of the lowest age limits for legal gender recognition for trans people anywhere in the world.

Police and law enforcement

Intervention submitted to European court on ill-treatment of a lesbian by the police

ILGA-Europe submitted jointly with the AIRE Centre and the International Commission of Jurists an intervention to the European Court of Human Rights. The case (Klobučar v. Croatia) concerns alleged ill-treatment of a lesbian by the Croatian police and the failure of the authorities to conduct the necessary investigations.
Find the intervention here

Notice board

New resource for civil society organisations: The Capacity Catalogue

The Capacity Catalogue is a new joint publication by Kumquat Consult and ODS, with the support of the Open Society Initiative for Europe. The publication aims to help civil society leaders identify their organisations' strengths, their weaknesses, and think critically about where and how to improve.