LGBTI equality and human rights in Europe and Central Asia

March 2016

No. 247. March 2016. In this issue...



Bias motivated speech

Bias motivated violence


Equality and non-discrimination


Freedom of assembly

Notice board



Empower LBTI Women

On 8 March, the International Women's Day, ILGA-Europe launched the Facebook page Empower LBTI women. The page is a space to share good practices, opportunities and initiatives targeting LBTI women in the movement. Do you have something to share? Let us know or send it to Senior Communications Officer, Nanna Moe.
Check the page here

Upcoming training on Financial Management and Funds Administration

ILGA-Europe is organising a 3-day training on “Financial Management and Funds Administration: towards Sustainable Change”. The training is taking place on 2 - 4 June 2016 in Brussels, Belgium. Note! The deadline for submitting your on-line application is 1 April 18:00 CET.
Read more about the training here


European Parliament demands protection for LGBTI refugees, also from 'safe' countries

On 8 March, the European Parliament adopted a report on the situation of women refugees and asylum seekers in the EU, paying particular attention to the situation of LGBTI asylum seekers.
The report is a response to the invisibility of female refugees and their concerns in the wake of the steep increase of asylum seekers arriving in Europe. A significant part of the refugees and asylum seekers is LGBTI, who often face specific challenges, which are addressed in the report. 
Read more on the website of the European Parliament's Intergroup on LGBTI Rights

LGBTI organisations from Western Balkans and Turkey demand removal of fence at border

LGBTI and other human rights organisations from FYR Macedonia along with LGBTI organisations from the Western Balkans and Turkey send an open call to national institutions of FYR Macedonia and the international community to remove the fence in the Greece-FYR Macedonia border. 

Read more on the website of ERA - LGBTI Equal Rights Association

Bias motivated speech

Ending the destructive effect of hate speech

ILGA-Europe's statement on 21 March, the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination: Hate speech is a pervasive phenomenon that can undermine an individual’s dignity and self-esteem. Particular groups in European society are especially vulnerable, including the LGBTI community.
Read the full statement here

Catholic priest from Lithuania faces trial over homophobic comments online

A catholic priest from Kaunas (Lithuania) faces criminal charges for homophobic comments online. After reading an online article about a demonstration in front of the Russian Embassy in Vilnius, organised by the local LGBT community in August 2013, the priest wrote: “The ones with the ripped assholes should be smacked.” The complaint to the public prosecutor was submitted by the National LGBT* Rights Organization - LGL.
Read more about the complaint here
More about Lithuania on

Bias motivated violence

Call for submissions: OSCE Hate crime report 2015

ILGA-Europe is preparing the annual submission to the OSCE/ODIHR hate crime report, on hate crime incidents of 2015. All NGOs can submit reports. You can choose to do this directly to OSCE/ODIHR, but ILGA-Europe will also prepare a comprehensive submission on incidents that happened in 2015, on all countries that we have information on.
Contact Michael Cerulus, Senior Policy Officer, if you are interested in contributing

EU Commission proposes EU accession to international Convention to fight violence against women

On 4 March, the European Commission has proposed for the European Union to ratify the Council of Europe's Istanbul Convention. 10 days later, it was announced that Belgium had ratified the Convention. The Istanbul Convention recognises violence against women as a human rights violation. It addresses violence against women through measures aimed at preventing violence, protecting victims, and prosecuting the perpetrators.
Read more about the EU Commissions proposal here

Offices of two Polish LGBTI organisations attacked

At two occasions in late February and March, offices of two Polish LGBTI organisations were attacked. A brick to the office of the Lambda Warszawa and broke the windows. The office of the Campaign Against Homophobia (KPH) was attacked when three young men tried to break into the premises of the KPH, shouting offensive terms to the employees of the organisation.  
Read more about the two incidents on the website of KPH


IGLYO launches toolkit on norm criticism

IGLYO, the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender & Queer Youth & Student Organisation,  launched a Toolkit on norms and norm criticism. Its primary audience is organisations working primarily with LGBTQI young people, but it can easily be used by any group interested in trying out a norm critical mindset to analysing norms, power structures and discrimination.
Read more and download the toolkit here

Equality and non-discrimination

EU must focus on what works – the wellbeing of the LGBTI population depends on it

On 16 March, the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency published its report Professionally speaking: challenges to achieving equality for LGBT people. ILGA-Europe welcome the results of the FRA survey, which asked public officials, doctors, teachers and police forces about the laws and policies they felt were most effective at promoting the rights of LGBT people. Their responses mirror the answers given by LGBT people themselves during the FRA’s previous EU-wide study, conducted in 2012.
Read more about the report here

Council of Europe adopts progressive strategy on the rights of the child

The Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers adopted on the 3 March its rights of the child strategy, covering the period 2016-2021. The strategy foresees in particular that the Council of Europe will undertake research on the situation of LGBT and intersex children as regards the realisation of their rights. ILGA-Europe welcomes the mention of the need to research the specific situation of LGBTI children within the first priority area – equal opportunities.
Read more about the strategy here

United Nations sends strong support to LGBTI people’s right to sexual and reproductive health

On 4 March, the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of the United Nations published a General Comment on the right to sexual and reproductive health. The Comment included several references to LGBTI issues. ILGA-Europe is thrilled about the strong support and recommendations outlined in the Comment.
Read more about the comment here

Dutch vote could set back LGBTI rights in Ukraine

On 6 April, a referendum will be held in The Netherlands on the Ukraine-European Union Association Agreement. A No vote has the potential to negatively affect the lives of LGBTI people in Ukraine. LGBTI groups in Ukraine have a clear message for Dutch citizens: please vote YES.
Read more about the vote here

Member State support for progressive EU LGBTI equality work is undeniable

Ministers from 27 EU Member States have issued a clear call to the European Commission to step up its work on LGBTI equality measures. That message emanated clearly from the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council meeting on 7 March. The adoption of conclusions on gender equality and LGBTI equality was one of the afternoon session’s agenda items, as part of a package put forward by the Dutch Presidency (current chair of the Council of the EU). 27 Member States stated their unequivocal support for the LGBTI conclusions, asking the Commission to breathe real life into the activities listed in their LGBTI List of Actions. Only Hungary was unable to support the LGBTI equality conclusions in their present form.
Read our statement here


Join and celebrate the 5th International Family Equality Day – 1 May 2016

Freedom of assembly

LGBT festival in Ukraine abandoned after far-right protest

Notice board

Intersex Human Rights Fund: open for applications

The Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice has announced a new call for proposals for their second cycle of our Intersex Human Rights Fund, launched in 2015 to honor the resilience, creativity and growth of intersex activism and to ensure the human rights of intersex people. The Intersex Human Rights Fund supports organisations, projects and timely campaigns led by intersex activists working to ensure the human rights, bodily autonomy, physical integrity and self-determination of intersex people. Given the dearth of funding to intersex issues globally, intersex groups/projects based anywhere in the world are eligible to apply. Note! Deadline is 8 April.
Read more about the funding opportunity here

ILGA World Conference 2016: apply for a scholarship and submit sessions proposals

Bangkok is calling: from 28 November to 2 December, 2016, the capital city of Thailand will host the 28th ILGA World Conference. Scholarship applications and sessions proposals are now being accepted, and you will have until 1:00 pm CET on 18 April to send them. By now, registrations are only opened for participants who intend to apply for a scholarship. Paying participants (ILGA member delegates, funders, media persons) will be able to register as from 10 April.

Job opportunity with ILGA World as Events, Logistics and Administration officer

ILGA World in Geneva is recruiting an Events, Logistics and Administration officer. This is an exciting full-time position within the team of ILGA World. In consultation with the Finance Manager, the post holder will be responsible for the organisation of events (including conferences), the smooth running of ILGA’s operations in Geneva, and for the management of the membership. Deadline for applications: 4 April 17.00 CET.
Read more about the opportunity here

STILL MUCH TO BE DONE mini-conference, Copenhagen 10 May

The day before the conference of the European IDAHO Forum the mini-conference STILL MUCH TO BE DONE will focus on the shortcomings in European and national legislation and policies. The starting point is key documents of the Council of Europe and EU such as the 2010 recommendation from the Committee of Ministers and the EU Commission's List of Actions to Advance LGBTI Equality. What are the obstacles for implementation? The mini-conference is an initiative of LGBT Denmark, Copenhagen Pride and Sabaah. Detailed program and practical information follow.
Read more about the conference here

#unit Festival - world’s first queer tech festival

The world’s first queer tech festival, #unit Festival, is going to take place in Berlin on 16 April 2016. It is a platform for queer and straight techies as well as people who love technology to connect. 
Read more about the festival here

Summer school: Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity in International Law

The summer school Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in International Law: Progress, Consolidation, Stagnation will focus on the emergence of sexual orientation issues in human rights law, international criminal law, and refugee law. It will be held in The Hague and Amsterdam from 1 to 5 August 2016.
Read more about the summer school here
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