LGBTI equality and human rights in Europe and Central Asia

December 2015

No. 244. December 2015. In this issue...


Bias motivated violence

Civil society space


Equality and non-discrimination


Freedom from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment


Legal gender recognition



Attitudes, opinions, beliefs about LGBTI equality in Europe

In September this year, ILGA-Europe and PIRC (Public Interest Research Centre) started a new project, Reframing LGBTI Equality in Europe. Within the project, we now need you. Help us by sending surveys, resources, name it - from all over Europe.
Read more about how you can submit literature

Event: United Against Hate Crimes

On 8 and 9 December, ILGA-Europe organised an expert workshop on underreporting of hate crimes and a public event “United Against Hate Crimes”.  At the expert workshop, we brought together representatives from EU member states and civil society activists. Jointly, all NGO and government representatives also agreed on a number of recommendations to tackle the underreporting of hate crimes in the whole of Europe.  The next day, ILGA-Europe, ENAR, CEJI and Amnesty International invited EU policymakers to challenge them to think critically about the EU’s approach to hate crime.
Read more about the event here

Bias motivated violence


Transphobic hate attacks and killing in Istanbul

On 2 December, a sex worker trans woman was stabbed to death in Istanbul. The woman was murdered while she was working on the street. A week later, on 9 December, two trans women also in Istanbul were attacked. One was severely injured after a knife attack, and one were left trembling and traumatized after being kidnapped and raped. According to Turkish LGBTI organisations, no arrests have been carried out.
Read more on the website of KAOS GL

Write for Rights: Beaten up for being in love

The Write for Rights campaign 2015 is one of the world's largest annual human rights campaigns and has been organised by Amnesty International every year since 2001 around Human Rights Day. Among this year’s cases is that of Costas and his partner – victims of a racist, homophobic attack in central Athens in August 2014. 
Read more about the campaign here

Civil society space


Russia labels Open Society Foundation and Open Society Institute’s Assistance Foundation as “undesirable organisations”

On 30 November, Russian prosecutors officially labelled the Open Society Foundation and the Open Society Institute’s Assistance Foundation as “undesirable organisations”, which practically bans any kind of cooperation between them and Russian citizens and organisations. The two are accused of posing a threat to Russia’s constitutional order and national security. Both organisations have been providing essential funding to human rights and civil society organisations in Russia.
Read more about the ban here

EU-NGO human rights Forum on civil society space



New Irish law protects against discrimination based on sexual orientation

Equality and non-discrimination


EU fails to adopt LGBTI equality strategy, but proposes list of actions

On 7 December, Věra Jourová, EU’s Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, presented the European Commission’s List of Actions to advance LGBTI equality. ILGA-Europe is disappointed that the EU failed to deliver an ambitious LGBTI equality strategy.
Read more about the list of actions here

Update on the legal protection for LGBTI people in the EU


Russia's Constitutional Court allowed to ignore international court rulings

On 15 December, President Vladimir Putin has signed a law allowing Russia's Constitutional Court to decide whether to ignore or enforce rulings of international courts, including the European Court of Human Rights.
Read more about the decision here

Reminder: open call from the European Commission for transnational projects preventing homophobia and other forms of intolerance

On 27 November 2015, the European Commission published a call for transnational projects to combat homophobia and other forms of intolerance. Moreover, other calls related to hate crime and victims’ support are coming up soon. If you are interested in applying, please inform Michael Cerulus, Senior Policy Officer, if you want us to help you bring different organisations together, e.g. for transnational projects.

To the top



Disappointment as Poland and Hungary block EU proposal on property regimes of married and registered couples


Referendum in Armenia brings constitutional reforms

On 6 December, Armenia held a referendum on a wide package of constitutional reforms. The Central Election Commission formally approved the results on December 13, announcing that the reform package had passed successfully. The reforms have been accused of having far reaching anti-democratic effects, and the opposition alleges that violations and fraud took place at the referendum on a large scale. The adopted constitutional amendments also include a re-definition of marriage to be a union between a man and a woman.
Read more about the referendum here

Is marriage equality going to be a reality in Slovenia?

On Sunday 20 December, we will know the result of the referendum which decides on whether marriage should be available for same-sex couples. The ILGA-Europe hopes that Slovenia will join the 12 other European countries with marriage equality.
Read more about the referendum in Slovenia here

Greece to vote on civil partnerships for same-sex couples

Greek parliamentarians will soon vote on a new civil partnership bill. The ILGA-Europe Annual Conference in Athens added an extra push for the move toward partnership recognition for same-sex couples. If the bill goes through same-sex couples will now benefit from rights and protections that were previously only enjoyed by married couples. These protections include inheritance and taxation but the bill does not include the ability to apply for adoption. The bill also aims to extend greater anti-discrimination protection on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity.
Read more about the upcoming vote here

Estonian Cohabitation Act to enter force without implementing acts

Implementation acts to the much debated Cohabitation Act in Estonia, which gives same-sex couples more rights, will not be passed this year. This means the initial act will enter force on 1 January with a number of legal loopholes and problems. The implementing acts are necessary to clarify legal details for same-sex couples and third parties alike.
Read more about the Cohabitation Act here

Czech court ruling gives parenting rights to same-sex couples

A court in the Czech Republic delivered a breakthrough ruling when it recognised the adoption of 10-year-old twins by a Czech-French gay couple living in the United States. Ruling is seen as a breakthrough for parenting rights for same-sex couples in the Czech Republic. 
Read more about the ruling here

New Coalition for Civil Partnerships in Poland

From a Register Office to the European Court of Human Rights – five Polish lesbian and gay couples open a new chapter in the fight for civil partnerships.
Read more about the new coalition here

Freedom from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment


UN Committee against Torture reprimands Austria and Denmark



World AIDS Day 2015

Legal gender recognition


Social media campaign on trans visibility in Lithuania - #Trans_LT

On 8 December, Lithuanian Gay League released a video which features members of the trans community in Lithuania. They share their experiences and the difficulties they face - especially in the absence of legal gender recognition in Lithuania. The video also incites the viewers to sign a petition. The goal of the campaign is to increase the visibility of trans people and push the Lithuanian government to take action and enact a gender legal recognition legislation. ILGA-Europe supported the campaign through our programme, Creating Opportunities.
Read more about the campaign here

Norway ethics body backs IVF for trans men

A Norwegian scientific ethics body is backing the government plans to allow those who change legal gender from female to male to retain their ovaries and have children.
Read more about the opinion from the Norwegian ethics body