Thursday, 1 April 2010

All 47 Council of Europe countries, including Armenia, unanimously agreed on historic human rights recommendations for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people

There is a motto on a Council of Europe website: 47 countries, one Europe. If only these recommendations turn into actions and get implemented locally in all 47 countries, this would be a big step towards such a goal. Agree with the ILGA-Europe that the Recommendations should serve as a very useful tool to advance LGBT rights forward.

My further reflections: Armenia: ‘A+’ for signatures, ‘Fail’ for practice

Europe’s main gay rights group ILGA-Europe reports:

Today the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, representing the national governments of its 47 Member States, unanimously adopted historic Recommendations on measures to combat discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity. This is the world’s first intergovernmental agreement codifying the application of human rights standards to LGBT people.

The Recommendations establish how international human rights standards should be applied to LGBT people and contain specific measures for Member States on how they should improve their legislation, policies and practices to address discrimination against LGBT people in such areas as

- hate crime and hate speech;
- freedom of association, expression and peaceful assembly;
- right to respect for private and family life;
- employment;
- education;
- health;
- housing;
- sports;
- right to seek asylum.

Additionally, the Recommendations prescribe that Member States should ensure that national human rights structures are clearly mandated to address discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. They also encourage Member States to address multiple discrimination experienced by LGBT people.

ILGA-Europe’s only regret is that the Member States did not go as far as we hoped for in some areas, particularly family rights.

Martin K.I. Christensen, Co-Chair of ILGA-Europe’s Executive Board, said:
“This is a truly historical development! For the first time in history the European continent came together to codify human rights’ applications to LGBT people. As we celebrate this landmark in European human rights history, we also hope that these Recommendations will help to advance the human rights for LGBT people beyond Europe. ”

Linda Freimane, Co-Chair of ILGA-Europe’s Executive Board, added:
“These Recommendations go well beyond the current situation in many European countries for LGBT people and will surely serve as a blueprint for our members in working with their national governments. We will also follow closely the three year review mechanism agreed by the Committee of Ministers to ensure the full implementation. Finally, we encourage the Council of Europe to organise a campaign among its Member States to promote these Recommendations.”

The Committee of Ministers is the Council of Europe's decision-making body. It comprises the Foreign Affairs Ministers of all the Member States, or their permanent diplomatic representatives in Strasbourg.

The full text of the Recommendations is available on the Committee of Minister’s website.

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