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No. 219, November 2013. In this issue...



Bias motivated speech

Bias motivated violence



Equality and non-discrimination


Freedom of assembly


Human rights defenders

Notice board


Fact finding mission to Belarus

In mid-October a Fact Finding Mission to Belarus has been undertaken by ILGA-Europe. LGBTI movement in a this country remains rather invisible, resulting in poor reporting to international organisations and thus limited pressure brought to national governments to improve the human rights situation. The main goals of the mission were to strengthen the links with the local human rights organisations, to identify opportunities to strengthen national LGBTI movement, and to gather information that can provide a way for advocacy work at the international level.


Important judgment from EU Court of Justice on LGBTI asylum seekers

On 7 November 2013, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) delivered a judgment in the case X, Y, Z v Minister voor Immigratie en Asiel related to claiming asylum in the EU on the basis of fear for persecution because of individuals’ sexual orientation in countries where homosexuality is criminalised. Later in November, EUObserver brought an Op-Ed from ILGA-Europe following the important judgment.

Gay man granted asylum in Malta due to persecution in Nigeria
An 18-year-old Nigerian migrant was granted asylum in Malta due to persecution in his home country over his homosexuality. Consensual homosexual conduct is punishable by up to 14-years in prison under Nigeria’s federal criminal code.
Read more about the asylum case here

Bias motivated speech

Homophobic Lithuanian politician delivers 'present' to LGBT organisation

The notorious homophobic Lithuanian Member of Parliament, Petras Gražulis, visited the office of Lithuanian Gay League to deliver a 'present' - which turned out to be a homophobic statement.

Public displays of homophobia and transphobia to be criminalised in Cyprus

The Ministry of Justice of Cyprus proposed an amendment of the Penal Code, by which expand the definition of “hate speech” to include any incitement for violence or hatred against anyone based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Bias motivated violence

Violent attacks and threats in several occasions in Russia

Numerous violent attacks and threats have occured within the last month against the Russian LGBT community. A few incidents among others: The Side By Side LGBT film festival has found itself the target of numerous bomb threats in St. Petersburg. A Moscow gay club “Central Station” have been attacked twice with gas. A LGBT community center in St. Petersburg of the project LaSky was attacked by two assailiants with a pneumatic gun and a baseball bat.

Transgender Day of Rememberance

On 20 November, ILGA-Europe added its voice to the International Transgender Day of Remembrance.


Sexual orientation, gender identity and religion: A new dialogue

On 13 November, the European Parliament's Intergroup on LGBT Rights hosted a discussion on the topic of sexual orientation, gender identity and religion. The event discussed progressive approached by some religious leaders towards LGBT persons.


EU employment fund clarifies its scope on non-discrimination

On 20 November, the European Parliament adopted a regulation defining the priorities of the European Social Fund (ESF) - EU’s major fund for employment and social inclusion. It made clear that the Fund also includes non-discrimination with the explicit mentioning of sexual orientation as a ground of discrimination. Discrimination against trans people has also been clarified as being within the scope of the Fund with a reference to EU case-law providing a wide understanding of discrimination on the ground of sex (gender reassignment). All 28 EU Member States, Turkey and FYR Macedonia are covered by the Fund.
Read more about the new scope of the Fund here

Equality and non-discrimination

ECHR: Austria violated human rights in refusing to delete convictions under discriminatory age of consent laws from criminal records

On 7 November, the European Court of Human Rights found that Austria discriminated against four gay men when it refused to delete from their criminal record convictions under its discriminatory age of consent law.

Hundreds join anti-discrimination march in FYR Macedonia 
Several hundred people joined the fifth annual Tolerance March in FYR Macedonia's capital Skopje to protest against discrimination and violence. The march under the slogan ‘Macedonia has Love for All’, this year attempted to highlight attacks on LGBTI rights activists and violence among schoolchildren.
Read more about the march here


ECHR: Greek civil unions law only for heterosexual couples violates European human rights law

In a judgment in the joint cases of Vallianatos and Mylonas v. Greece and C.S. and others v. Greece delivered today, the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Greece had violated the European Convention on Human Rights by excluding same-sex couples from a “civil union”, restricted in Greece to heterosexual couples.

ILGA-Europe: Croatia - say yes to human rights for all and reject constitutional amendment on marriage

Prior the referendum in Croatia on 1 December, ILGA-Europe sent a message to Croatian citizens calling to vote NO. The refendum seeks to limit marriage as a union between a man and a woman - making it impossible for marriage equality.

Referendum on marriage equality in Ireland to be held in 2015

On 8 November, the Irish government decided to accept the overwhelming recommendation of the Constitutional Convention and hold a referendum on marriage equality in 2015. Shortly afterwards, the Primeminister (Taoiseach) confirmed his support for marriage and stated that he and the Government will campaign for it in the referendum.

Scottish parliament approves marriage equality proposal in first reading
Scotland took a major step towards marriage equality when Members of the Scottish Parliament overwhelmingly backed a change in the law. MSPs voted by a margin of 98 to 15 with five abstentions to pass the first stage of the legislation.
Read more about the vote on marriage equality in Scotland here

New publication: Is Same-Sex Marriage Legislation Related to Attitudes Toward Homosexuality?
The scientific journal ‘Sexuality Research and Social Policy’ has just published an analysis of the relation between legislation on marriage equality and homophobia. The main highlights are: Homophobia clearly declines among the population of Western Europe; Public opinion is more tolerant in countries with marriage equality, while it is hard to find a relation with registered partnership; Homophobia tends to decline further after the introduction of marriage equality.
Read the publication here

Training of Trainers on "Rainbow Families in Europe"

The Peace Institute in Ljubljana is organising a Training of Trainers on "Rainbow Families in Europe". The main goal of the training is to share skills and knowledge to equip individuals and institutions with a solid legal background on protection of rights of rainbow families exercising their right to free movement within the EU member states. Deadline of applications: 23 December.

Freedom of assembly

UN Human Rights Committee: Ban of Moscow pride is violating freedom of assembly

On 5 November, the United Nations' Human Rights Committee adopted its view point on the ban of Moscow Pride. The Committee strongly condemned the clear restriction of freedom assembly, and noted that the sole reason for the ban was due to the issue of homosexuality, which the Committee considered not to be a valid reason of the ban.
Read the view point from the Human Rights Committee here

Minsk Pride 2013 organisers ask for support and solidarity

Minsk Pride 2013 is planned to take place between 6-10 December. The organisers are asking for solidarity/support letters/video statements from abroad - if you want to contribute, then contact them by sending an email to belarus.pride@gmail.com.


ILGA-Europe statement on the occasion of the European HIV Testing Week and the World AIDS Day

1 December is the World AIDS Day. This year, ILGA-Europe together with over 400 other governmental agencies and non-governmental organisations across Europe, expressed its support to the European HIV Testing Week which takes place in advance of the World AIDS Day (22-29 November 2013).

Call for proposals: data-collection of LGBTI discrimination in health

ILGA-Europe announces 12th call for proposals within its Documentation and Advocacy fund. This call will specifically focus on data-collection of LGBTI discrimination in the area of health supported by the government of the Netherlands and an anonymous donor.

Deadline for applications: 2 December 2013.

Hearing in the European Parliament: Achieving the right to health of LGBTI people

On 6 November, ILGA-Europe, LGBT Intergroup and UNAIDS co-hosted a high-level hearing on the challenges and obstacles lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people face in the field of health and healthcare, with a particular focus on HIV/AIDS. Speakers included among others Tonio Borg, Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy, Luiz Loures, UNAIDS Deputy Executive Director and Laurette Onkelinx, Minister of Social Affairs and Public Health, Belgium.

Human rights defenders

Establishment of the Russia Freedom Fund

The Arcus Foundation, the Council for Global Equality and the Open Society Foundations have established the Russia Freedom Fund to provide financial support directly to groups working to end discrimination and violence in Russia based on sexual orientation and gender identity.Grant decisions will be made by a committee comprising representatives from the Arcus Foundation, the Open Society Foundations, representatives of the Russian LGBT community, and NGOs including ILGA-Europe.

Open call for civil society input: OSCE/ODIHR Recommendations for the protection of human rights defenders

Follow up to a series of consultation meetings concerning the OSCE/ODIHR Recommendations on the protection of human rights defenders, this Open Call for input is reaching out to human rights defenders who could not participate in the meetings themselves and give them an opportunity to contribute to this process. Deadline for input: 20 December.

Notice board

Job opportunity: Project Manager ProTrans project with Transgender Europe

Transgender Europe is looking for a part time (50%) Project Manager for their ProTrans project “Protecting trans victims of violence in Eastern Europe”. Closing date for applications: 11 December, noon (CET)

Video: Cyberbullying: there is a way out!

On 20 November, COFACE (Confederation of Family Organisations in the European Union) marked the Universal Children’s Day with a video to help parents, teachers and teenagers to identify Cyberbullying, and to provide advice and tips for a way out.

New publication: Women’s Watch 2012-2013

The European Women’s Lobby has launched the publication Women’s Watch 2012-2013.The report looks at women’s situation and gender equality in three main areas: women in decision-making, women’s economic independence and care responsibilities, and violence against women and women’s sexual and reproductive rights, while also looking at the links between those areas.

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.