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

Security and protection

The security and protection of LGBTI activists is becoming a very topical issue in Europe. Decades of progress and visibility of the LGBTI movement have also created a backlash. In some cases, this backlack goes far beyond apathetic news coverage or a lack of public engagement. It can mean that the physical security of LGBTI activists and entire organisations is threatened.

In this context, security refers to being free from external risk or harm. Harm can mean a variety of things: intentional violence or other actions aimed at LGBTI activists or targeting the activities of LGBTI organisations including office facilities and data. Protection refers to the targeted measures that LGBTI activists and organisations can take to identify potential risks and plan accordingly.

International institutions - such as the EU and the Council of Europe - are valuable in case of security breaches. It is important to engage with international institutions for several reasons: support and to make sure that they follow court cases regarding security breaches - all to ensure proper investigations and fair trials. Also international institutions can pressure Member States to put measures in place that actively protect LGBTI activists.

ILGA-Europe support our member organisations who are currently working in hostile environments in lots of ways. This can include organisational security assessment and planning sessions, advocacy assistance or  emergency funding. On the subject of funding, as the security and protection of LGBTI activists is not solely a European phenomenon, ILGA-Europe are working closely with global organisations, for example through the Dignity for All programme. This is approach benefits us in two ways: it helps us to share knowledge and also gain the best expertise in the field.

It is important to note, that ILGA-Europe does not have the capacity to provide tailor-made security and protection solutions. We focus on sharing the necessary tools with LGBTI activists and organisations so they can adapt them to their own situation. Our overall goal is to ensure the sustainability of the movement’s work. ILGA-Europe’s support should help organisations to continue their work despite a difficult and hostile environment.