LGBTI equality and human rights in Europe and Central Asia

European Parliament concerned about pushback as it adopts report on human rights

Today, (13 December 2017) the European Parliament adopted the Annual Report on Human Rights and Democracy in the World 2016.

It included a call to EU institutions and bodies to continue efforts to promote and protect the human rights of LGBTI people. 

The first article of the report recognises and expresses concern about “the pushback against democracy, human rights and the rule of law, which continue to be under threat worldwide.” Furthermore, this pushback is specifically recognised in relation to the human rights of LGBTI people.

ILGA-Europe welcomes the fact that the European Parliament recognises this broad, ongoing attack on human rights.

Paragraph 42 of the Annual Report on Human Rights and Democracy in the World 2016 states that the European Parliament: “Considers that the EU should continue its efforts to enhance respect for the human rights of LGBTI people, in line with the EU Guidelines on the topic; calls for the full implementation of the Guidelines, including through the training of EU staff in third countries; denounces the fact that 72 countries still criminalise homosexuality, is concerned that 13 of these countries have the death penalty, and believes that violent practices and acts of violence against individuals on the basis of their sexual orientation, such as forced outings, hate crimes and hate speech both online and offline, and corrective rape should not go unpunished.

This is an important message, especially when we consider the further regression of the human rights of LGBTI people that happened in 2017; from the mass illegal detentions and torture of LGBT people in Chechnya, and the government-sanctioned arrest of perceived gay men and trans women and forced medical examinations in Azerbaijan, to police raids on LGBT friendly bars in Belarus, or rising hate crime and hate speech being allowed to carry on with impunity in Georgia. 

Crucially, ILGA-Europe joins the European Parliament in calling for a full implementation of the EU’s LGBTI Guidelines, including through comprehensive training for EU staff in third countries.

The guidelines outline clear measures that respective embassies are required to take in the promotion and protection of the human rights of LGBTI people. Their full and effective implementation would have significant impact on the lives of LGBTI people living outside the EU’s borders. (Read more about the importance of full implementation here.)

ILGA-Europe has delivered training sessions for EU delegation staff on LGBTI issues and the guidelines, and looks forward to delivering many more such sessions in the future. ILGA-Europe partner organisations are also available to deliver sessions in countries throughout Europe.  

  • For more information please contact Daina Ruduša, ILGA-Europe's Advocacy & Programmes Officer