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No. 220, December 2013. In this issue...


Bias motivated violence



Equality and non-discrimination


Foreign policy


Human rights defenders

Legal gender recognition

Public opinion

Notice board



For the diaries: dates for Annual Conference 2014

The dates of the Annual Conference 2014 in Riga are different from the usual dates when we have our conference - please note that ILGA-Europe Annual Conference 2014 will take place not in the end of October as usual, but between 9 and 11 October 2014.

No time for complacency!

ILGA-Europe statement on the occasion of the Human Rights Day 2013.

Training on Community and organisational development

On 29 November – 1 December 2013, ILGA-Europe organised a training on Community and organisational development in Budapest for LGBTI activists from Albania, Armenia, Georgia, Italy, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Moldova, Serbia, Turkey and Ukraine.

Bias motivated violence

Council of the European Union adopted conclusions on combating hate crime in the European Union

During its meeting on 5-6 December 2013, the Justice and home affairs Council of the European Union adopted conclusions on combating hate crime in the European Union. ILGA-Europe welcomes the fact that EU justice and home affairs ministers started to list European-level and national-level measures to combat hate crime across the EU. However, these conclusions remain disappointing. On the one hand, the ministers do suggest that all EU Member States should individually consider improving their criminal codes to combat all forms of hate crimes, including homophobic and transphobic crimes. On the other hand, they fall short of the political will to commit to the adoption of the EU measures whichwould ensure that this really happens in all Member States.


Capacity building seminar on education

Between the 6-7 December 2013, IGLYO and ILGA-Europe jointly facilitated a workshop on Education for 9 activists from 9 European countries. The workshop was the first of its kind for ILGA-Europe in our work on Education.


Same-sex civil partners cannot be denied employment benefits reserved to marriage

On 12 December, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruled that employers cannot deny their employees in same-sex civil partnerships benefits which are granted to married employees: case of Frédéric Hay v Crédit agricole mutuel de Charente-Maritime et des Deux –Sèvres. ILGA-Europe welcomes the CJEU judgment confirming that employees in same-sex civil partnerships cannot be denied employment related benefits reserved to married partners.

Study on discrimination at work towards the LGBT community

The Université Libre de Bruxelles has launched a survey looking into direct or indirect discrimination due to workers’ sexual orientation or gender identity. The online questionnaire is exclusively aimed at LGBT people who have a job or who are in search of a job.

Equality and non-discrimination

3rd International Intersex Forum concluded

Between 29 November and 1 December 2013, the Third International Intersex Forum, supported by ILGA and ILGA-Europe, took place in Valletta, Malta. This event brought together 34 activists representing 30 intersex organisations from all continents. Read the public statement by the Forum here.

Europe must react to escalation of human rights violations in Lithuania

On 26 November, Seimas (Lithuanian Parliament) voted to proceed with a consideration of an amendment to the country’s Code of Administrative Offences which aims to limit freedom of association, assembly and expression of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) people. Additionally to this amendment, there is a number of other discriminatory homophobic and transphobic legislative proposals on the agenda of Seimas: to ban gender reassignment; to ban adoption by same-sex couples; to amend Criminal Code to ensure that ‘criticism of homosexuality, does not constitute hate speech. ILGA-Europe is seriously concerned with the current developments and the state of human rights of LGBTI people in Lithuania.

New initiative: Uprising of Love

In connection with Human Rights Day, ILGA-Europe joined forces with other organisations in starting an 'Uprising of Love' in support of the safety and dignity of the Russian LGBTI community.

European Parliament adopts EU financial package on rights and equality for 2014-2020

On 10 December, the European Parliament has adopted the Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme for the period 2014-2020. The €439 million programme will contribute to combating homophobia and discrimination against trans people.

Flemish action plan to combat homophobia in football: Gay or straight, not an issue on the pitch!

The Minister of Equal Opportunities of Flandern (Belgian region) Pascal Smet has launched an action plan endorsed by a whole array of partners from the football sector. Via a communication campaign in social media and concrete initiatives aimed at sportsmen, trainers, supporters, board members, referees and safety supervisors focus is put on awareness-raising, breaking stereotypes and empowerment of LGB players.

Future EU LGBTI roadmap gathers more support

On 17 December, the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs adopted a recommendation for a future EU roadmap against homophobia and discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. 12 Member States are already calling for an EU LGBTI roadmap - Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Sweden and The Netherlands.


Croatian marriage referendum: human rights cannot be subjected to majority vote

ILGA-Europe is deeply disappointed by the result of the referendum of 1st December in Croatia which approved a constitutional amendment to define marriage as a union of a man and a woman.

Proposals on partnership recognition and gender recognition in Albania

Two law proposals have been tabled by the Albanian government in cooperation with the Albanian’s Ombudsman, members of the opposition and Albanian LGBT organisations. The first proposal has to do with the amendment of the Family Code in order to make the civil partnerships inclusive for same sex couples. The second initiative is a draft law for gender recognition for trans people in Albania.

Lithuanian Parliament endorses constitutional amendment linking family to marriage

On 10 December, the Lithuanian Parliament voted in favour of a Constitutional amendment, which redefines a constitutionally protected concept of “family life” as emanating from traditional marriage by a man and a woman and stipulates that family arises from motherhood and fatherhood. After first hearing, 65 MPs voted yes for amending the Constitution, 8 voted against, while another 11 abstained.

Foreign policy

European Parliament adopts financial package to promote human rights in the world in 2014-2020

The European Parliament adopted its seven-year financial programme to support democracy and human rights in the world. In the period 2014-2020, the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights will specifically seek to fund projects and organisations working for the human rights of LGBTI persons.

Human rights in the world: European Parliament’s annual report points to serious abuses for LGBTI people

On 11 December, the European Parliament voted its annual report on human rights in the world. The report reviews the situation of human rights (including the human rights of LGBTI persons) worldwide, and makes annual recommendations for EU action.


European Parliament confirms its stance on Sexual and Reproductive Rights on Human Rights Day

Differences on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) between the respective political groups of the European Parliament proved irreconcilable on Human Rights Day (10 December) during the vote on the landmark SRHR Report. The report, authored by Portuguese MEP Edite Estrela of the Socialists and Democrats Group, offered MEPs an opportunity to mark the occasion by advancing the EP’s supportive position on sexual and reproductive rights, including access to accurate information about contraceptive methods. However, after a well-funded and deliberately misleading defamatory campaign, the opportunity was narrowly missed by a margin of just seven votes. But MEPs also conclusively rejected an opposing motion tabled by the Europe of Freedom and Democracy Group, which proposed greater restrictions on access to safe abortion and other retrograde anti-choice measures, by an overwhelming 548 to 95 votes.

Human rights defenders

Honour for Cypriot activist who battled two decades

LGBT activist Alecos Modinos from Cyprus was honoured at a special ceremony in Nicosia for his pioneering work in safeguarding the human rights of LGBT people in Cyprus and in Europe. Modinos founded a Cypriot movement for gay rights in 1979, and almost single-handedly forced the state to decriminalise homosexuality nearly two decades later. Cyprus decriminalised homosexuality in 1998 five years after Modinos won his battle against the state at the European Court of Human Rights.

Day of Remembrance of gays and lesbians - the victims of political repression in Russia

On 17 December, the Russian LGBT Network organised the Day of Remembrance of gays and lesbians - the victims of political repression. 80 years ago the Soviet Union imposed criminal prosecution for consensual homosexual relations between adults. 

Legal gender recognition

Senate of The Netherlands adopts trans law

On 17 December, a large majority of the Dutch senate voted in favor of a new law on legal gender recognition for trans people. The Transgender Network Netherlands (TNN) and COC Netherlands speak of a “victory for transgender people in the Netherlands”. The Law is expected to take effect on 1 July 2014.

Public opinion

Survey in Lithuania: Almost one-third in favour of civil union for same-sex couples

A poll, commissioned by the Office of Equal Opportunities Ombudsman, reveals discriminatory attitudes towards different social groups in Lithuania, including discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation: Only about one-fourth of the respondents (22%) indicated that they personally know a homosexual person, and 52% think that homosexual individuals should enjoy equal opportunities and the same conditions in labour market as their heterosexual colleagues.

Notice board

Call for applications: Rainbow Leaders

RFSL (Swedish LGBT organisation) has launched a call for their second round of Rainbow Leaders - A Global Program for Sustainable LGBTI Leadership 2013 - 2015 to selected leaders in the global LGBTI movement. Rainbow Leaders is part of the Global LGBT Human Rights Partnership, a partnership between USAID and Sida. RFSL is partnering with Astraea Lesbian Foundation for certain parts of the program. Deadline: 6 January 2014.

Funding opportunity: UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women

The UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women (UN Trust Fund) is a leading global grant-making mechanism exclusively dedicated to addressing violence against women and girls in all its forms.It supports effective initiatives that demonstrate that violence against women and girls can be systematically addressed, reduced and, with persistence, eliminated. Deadline for submission of applications: 22 January 2014.

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.