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No. 211, March 2013 - in this issue...


Bias motivated speech

Bias motivated violence

Equality and non-discrimination


Freedom of expression

Public opinion

Notice board


Meeting with Cecilia Malmström, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs

On 26 March, Cecilia Malmström, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs, met with Evelyne Paradis, ILGA-Europe’s Executive Director, and Björn van Roozendaal, ILGA-Europe's Programmes Director. On the agenda was LGBT rights in EU and neighbourhood.

European regional conference: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights in Europe

On 26 March, ILGA-Europe participated in an European regional meeting on LGBT issues in Paris. The meeting was organised by the French Government with support of the European Commission and in cooperation with Poland, and the speakers included Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, French Minister of Women's Rights and Government spokeperson; Evelyne Paradis, Executive Director ILGA-Europe, as well as Ministers from Bosnia-Herzegovina, Georgia, Ireland and Sweden. The meeting will feed into an international conference organised by the Norwegian government in Oslo, April this year. The events should help build the ground to strengthen the United Nation’s work on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity.

ILGA-Europe speaks at PACE conference on freedom of expression for LGBT people in Polish Parliament

On 19th of March the Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) of the Council of Europe held its first ever conference on LGBT related issues, focusing mainly on freedom of expression. The conference took place in Warsaw, at Poland’s Parliament. Keynote speakers included the Vice-Speaker of the Polish Parliament, the Government Plenipotentiary for Equal Treatment of Poland, the Swedish Minister for European Affairs, the former President of the European Court of Human Rights, Sir Nicholas Bratza, East Europe’s first openly gay MP, Robert Biedron from Poland, and Evelyne Paradis, Executive Director ILGA-Europe.

ILGA-Europe in panel discussion on 'Securing Human Rights and Advancing Equality'

On 20 March, ILGA-Europe was invited to speak at a panel discussion on 'Securing Human Rights and Advancing Equality' at the Netherlands Embassy in Washington, US. The panel was moderated by Chloe Schwenke, Vice President for Global Programs, Freedom House, and the participants were Georges Azzi, Executive Director, Arab Foundation for Freedom and Equality (Lebanon), Fernando D’Elio, Regional Adviser, AKAHATA (Argentina), Wanja Muguongo, Executive Director, East African Sexual Health and Rights Initiative (Kenya) and Björn Van Roozendaal, Program Director ILGA-Europe.

Challenging gender roles to achieve gender equality - 8 March International Women's Day

ILGA-Europe statement: Whether it is a pay gap between women and men, violence against women, discrimination against LGBTI people, homophobia and transphobia, the root cause is the same - gender roles and gender stereotypes. Almost everything around us still reflects traditional dualistic and patriarchal perceptions of how ‘real women’ and real men’ should look, what job they should do and who they should love, etc. ILGA-Europe believes gender equality is everyone’s business. Only by challenging such patriarchal gender roles and stereotypes we can achieve true gender equality.

Statement poster on The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

ILGA-Europe produced a statement poster "Together against racism and discrimination", which was launched on the 20 March - The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

Bias motivated speech

New campaign of young people for human rights online

The campaign is against the expressions of hate speech online in all its forms, including those that most affect young people, such as forms of cyber-bullying and cyber-hate. The campaign is based upon human rights education, youth participation and media literacy. It aims at reducing hate speech and at combating racism and discrimination in their online expression. The campaign is initiated and run by the Council of Europe but it is based on national campaigns run in the member states of the Council of Europe.

Bias motivated violence

European Parliament calls for a ban on homophobic and transphobic hate crime/speech

ILGA-Europe wholeheartedly welcomed the resolution by the European Parliament calling to criminalise homophobic and transphobic hate crime and speech across the European Union.

Major boost to combatting Hate Crime in Europe

Major boost to combatting Hate Crime in Europe is given by two year Facing Facts! initiative.

UN adopts declaration condemning violence against women

The United Nations has adopted a declaration calling on all nations to combat violence against women and girls. Conservative Muslim and Catholic nations dropped their veto threats after compromise language was adopted.

Gender identity and sexual orientation now included in the Greek hate crime legislation

The Greek parliament adopted earlier this month amendments to the Penal Code, and the Article 66 now states: Performing an act motivated by nationalistic, racial or religious hatred, or hatred due to different sexual orientation or gender identity against a victim, is considered an aggravating circumstance and the sentence cannot be suspended.

Lithuanian singer attacked at concert

Well-known and openly gay Lithuanian singer Ruslanas Kirilkinas became a victim of a homophobic attack. Kirilkinas was performing at a concert held in the Lithuanian town of Aukštadvaris on the 23 February when eggs were thrown at him from the audience, resulting in lip, chin and ear wounds. The singer was taken to hospital by ambulance and his injuries were treated.

Equality and non-discrimination

Council of Europe Steering Committee for Human Rights conducts review of implementation by member states of Recommendation on combating SOGI discrimination

In March 2010, the 47 member states of the Council of Europe adopted the world’s first intergovernmental agreement on combating sexual orientation or gender identity discrimination, the “Recommendation on combating discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity”. This identified how international human rights standards apply in the case of LGBT people, and set out measures for member states to take in combating discrimination against them.

UN adopts landmark resolution on protection of human rights defenders

On 21 March, the United Nations Human Rights Council adopted a landmark resolution which said that the use and abuse of national law to impair, restrict and criminalise the work of human rights defenders is a contravention of international law and must end. Moreover the resolution targeted the amendment of national laws which target human rights defenders, including laws which restrict NGOs from receiving foreign funding, which criminalise 'homosexual propaganda', or which limit freedom of expression or assembly on discriminatory grounds.


Demonstration in Brussels against Hungarian constitutional amendments

On 15 March 2013, ILGA-Europe joined a demonstration in Brussels against recent amendments to the Hungarian constitution which seriously threaten democracy and human rights of various minority groups in Hungary and go against the fundamental principles of the European Union. One of the amendments redefines family narrowly thus excluding same-sex couples and their families entirely. In fact, family is now defined as a union based on “marriage, and parental – children relation”. This completely disregards and excludes same-sex partners who are not legally allowed to marry in Hungary and also a significant number of heterosexual couples who are not married.

Portuguese authorities sued for discrimination regarding second-parent adoption

ILGA Portugal filed a class action against the Portuguese State, the Ministry of Justice and the Institute of Registries and Notaries. Introducing the concrete example of 10 families, the LGBT organisation demand justice for the children who are raised by same-sex couples, and for their families. The State is required to allow for the possibility of registering both parents (married or in a de facto union) for all cases where the child only has one legally recognized parent.

Putin moves to ban foreign same-sex couples from adopting Russian orphans

The President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, has instructed the government and the Supreme Court to prepare amendments to the current adoption procedure to prohibit same-sex foreign couples from adopting Russian orphans.

Freedom of expression

Committee of Ministers of Council of Europe continues to challenge Russia over the Moscow Prides case and “propaganda for homosexuality” laws

In its role supervising implementation of the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in the Alekseyev v. Russia case, the Committee of Ministers is continuing to challenge Russia both over its failure to guarantee freedom of assembly to LGBTI people and over the introduction of laws prohibiting “propaganda for homosexuality to minors”, whether those existing at regional level, or that now proposed at federal level.

Public opinion

Albania is Europe's most homophobic country according to new survey

Data from a new survey by the Open Society Foundation reveal that the vast majority of Albanians are conservative and disapprove of the gay and lesbian lifestyle. The results suggest that Albania is the most homophobic society of the countries included in the survey.

Notice board

Job opportunity at ILGA World: Executive Director to be based in Brussels

ILGA World is recruiting an Executive Director for their secretariat in Brussels. This is an exciting position within the team of ILGA World. In collaboration with the Co-Secretaries General, the post holder will be responsible for leading, developing and implementing the strategies and activities of ILGA World. Along with organisational management and leadership this will include leading with Co-Secretaries General on the growth and further development of ILGA World. Deadline for application is Monday 22 April 2013.

Internship opportunity at INTERIGHTS: LGBTI Human Rights in Europe

INTERIGHTS is looking for applicants for a three month funded internship starting at the beginning of June 2013, for a lawyer/academic working on LGBTI Human Rights in Europe. INTERIGHTS is an international legal human rights NGO based in London. They provide leadership and support in the legal protection of human right and work to ensure that human rights standards are protected and promoted effectively in domestic courts and before regional and international bodies, contributing to the development of a cumulative and progressive interpretation of international human rights law.

European Conference on Cyberbullying in Madrid

On 28 May, COFACE, the Confederation of Family Organisations in the EU, organises a European High Level Conference on Cyberbullying in Madrid. The conference will bring together key actors and stakeholders involved in the prevention of cyberbullying, early detection and intervention, including NGOs, helplines and hotlines, public bodies and law enforcement.
Read more about the conference here

E-learning course on European Union anti-discrimination law

The course has been developed to provide an introduction to the key concepts, developments and relevant case law concerning EU anti-discrimination law. It is intended to be interactive by using video presentations, examples from real cases and quizzes to test your knowledge. It is intended to complement the detailed seminars run by the Academy of European Law on anti-discrimination law, which provide more indepth analysis of the issues.

Read more about the course here

1st International Conference on LGBT Psychology and related fields – Coming out for LGBT Psychology in the current international scenario

This 1st International Conference on LGBT Psychology and related fields has the main objective of making LGBT Psychology visible, thus achieving a significant contribution to the civic, social and sustainable development in the current world that respect sexual diversity, so to bridge the gap between LGBT research and the community realities in with LGBT people live in.

Read more about the conference here

Sexual and gender identity in Europe as a topic in adult education

While studying and working in the fields of adult education a professional reflection and confrontation with sexual and gender identities is rather rare. Against this background this seminar will explore and train options to a non-heteronormative, emancipatory adult education.

We will face the question to what extent it will be possible and where, when and how we can provide space to lesbian, gay and transsexual topics and lifestyles. So that an emancipatory inclusion can become an initiative within political adult education and be part of the skills of individual professionals.

Read more about the course here

17th Summer Institute on Sexuality, Culture, and Society at the University of Amsterdam

The 2013 Summer Institute will provide students with a unique opportunity to explore and study the social and cultural dimensions of human sexuality, and to gain knowledge of sexuality research as conceptualized and practiced globally, pertaining to both theory and methodology.
This year, the topics include: Sexuality, Society and Culture; Human Rights, Adolescent Sexuality, Sexuality and Religion, Sexuality in Art and Media, Institute Cinematheque, Seminar in Proposal Development; and Professional Identities in the Sexuality Field.

Read more about the course here

First meeting of Euro-Mediterranean lesbian organisations

Lesbians are already involved in hundreds of activities, belong to different organisations, groups or lesbian branches of LGBT or feminist organisations. For the first time, thanks to a Marseilles Lesbian group, ‘CEL’ (Centre Evolutif Lilith), Europride is offering a 100% Lesbian event this year ‘Euro LESBIAN pride’, where lesbians will have the chance to share ideas, projects and actions. The event is organised for two days where the Euro-Mediterranean Lesbian groups will be able to meet. The meeting will take place in Marseilles, France, on 18 and 19 July.

Event: Human rights here, Roma rights now!

Watch out for Amnesty International’s flashmob outside the European Parliament in Brussels. The flashmob marks the launch of the campaign to end discrimination against Roma people in Europe. You can visit a Roma village and photo exhibition to see how some Roma people in EU countries really live. Date: 8 April, time: 13.00, place: In front of the European Parliament, Esplanade Solidarność (north), Brussels


ILGA-Europe Rainbow Digest is published by ILGA-Europe - the European Region of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans & Intersex Association

ISSN 1998-8117
Editor: Mehmet Akin
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This publication has been produced with the financial support of the Rights Equality and Citizenship (REC) programme 2014-2020 of the European Union. The contents of this publication are the sole responsibility of ILGA-Europe and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Commission.