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No. 221, January 2014. In this issue...


Access to goods and services

Bias motivated violence



EU Enlargement

Equality and non-discrimination


Freedom of assembly

Freedom of expression


Human rights defenders

Legal gender recognition

Notice board


Hello ILGA-Europe Rainbow Digest

You have might already noticed it: we are starting the first edition of 2014 with a brand new name for our monthly newsletter. The previous name, Euro-Letter, has been with us since 1992 and followed 220 editions. So, welcome to the first edition of the ILGA-Europe Rainbow Digest - no. 221 edition of our newsletter all together.

Come out for LGBTI equality, for human rights, for Europe, to vote

On 14 January, ILGA-Europe launched the European Elections campaign Come Out at the European Parliament in Strasbourg. 

Job opportunity at ILGA-Europe: Advocacy Director

ILGA-Europe is looking for a Advocacy Director. Closing date for receipt of applications: Friday, 21 February, 2014 (17.00 CET). 

Internship opportunity at ILGA-Europe

ILGA-Europe is looking for an intern for a six-month period from May-October (period non-negotiable) to work with the staff team in Brussels. The internship opportunity is opened to individuals who are members or affiliated with ILGA-Europe’s member organisations. This is a paid internship.

Access to goods and services

Trans woman wins a discrimination case against Irish bank

The Equality Tribunal of Ireland has awarded trans woman EUR 5,000 compensation after it ruled she had been discriminated against by an Irish bank. In October 2010, in accordance with the declarations on her change of name of deed poll, she approached the bank to inform them of her change of name. The bank changed her name and gender on her credit card, but told her to close down her 'cashsave' account. The equality tribunal found she has been discriminated against on gender grounds, and have ordered the bank to review their policies in relation to people who change their name.

New resource: Implications of austerity on LGBT people in public services

UNISON and NatCen Social Research (both UK based) have launched a report on the way cuts to public services may be affecting LGBT service users and providers. The effects were varied but there was a feeling that progress on challenging discrimination was being reversed and that homophobia and transphobia were on the rise again.

Bias motivated violence

ILGA-Europe, FIDH and the Aire centre submits intervention on Romanian hate crime case

On 24 January, ILGA-Europe, FIDH and the Aire centre submitted an intervention to the European Court of Human Rights on a Romanian hate crime case. The centre point of the case is the treatment of the applicants by the Romanian authorities after being the victims of a serious assault as they travelled home from an annual LGBT pride march in Bucharest on 3 June 2006. Despite presenting the police with clear evidence that they had been assaulted, and despite being able to identify two of their attackers (whose names and addresses were known to the police), the crime was not recorded until 27 April 2007. What investigation did take place was terminated on 4 October 2011 with no result.


Equal Aging project – making diversity visible!

Equal Aging is a three-year project on LGBTI seniors in Finland. The project is coordinated by NGO Seta – LGBTI Rights in Finland in co-operation with two of its member participants, Fin-Bears and Mummolaakso.


Erasmus+ and its first call for proposals

Erasmus+ is the new EU programme for education, training, youth and sport for the period 2014-2020. It merges former programmes like Lifelong Learning, Youth in Action, Erasmus Mundus, etc. LGBTI rights organisations are fully legitimate to apply provided that their projects contribute to tackling unemployment and early-school leaving, and to empowering young people, and developing their ability to participate actively in the society (including through non-formal learning activities). Different deadlines have been set from March to October 2014 depending on the key action concerned. If you plan to apply, please let us know.

EU Enlargement

European Parliament: Serbia and Kosovo need to step up efforts to guarantee the rights of LGBT people

On 16 January, the European Parliament adopted two of its annual progress reports for candidate and potential candidate EU countries. MEPs have assessed the rights of LGBTI people, and recommended the two countries improve the situation.

Equality and non-discrimination

Support the Lunacek report against discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity

On Tuesday 4 February, Members of the European Parliament will vote on a report written by MEP Ulrike Lunacek. The report asks the European Commission to adopt a strategy against discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. However a petition coming from religious extremists, anti-choice and other ultra-conservative groups has already gathered over 100,000 signatures. This petition is circulating and calling upon MEPs to reject the Lunacek report, and the petition and letters sent to the MEPs include a lot of misinformation and lies.

European leaders: do not send high-ranking officials to Sochi!

The Winter Olympics in Russia is soon approaching. ILGA-Europe is calling on leaders of European and other countries not to send high-ranking officials to Sochi 2014 Olympics as a sign of protest against ongoing human rights violations in Russia. ILGA-Europe commends those European and other world leaders who already stated they will not attend the Sochi Olympics.

EU needs to suspend visa liberalisation negotiations with Russia

On 17 January in Moscow during a joint media briefing with Cecilia Malmström, EU Home Affairs Commissioner, ILGA-Europe launched a new report addressing the human rights situation of LGBT people in Russia since the adoption of the Federal "homosexuality anti-propaganda law" last year. The report paints a bleak picture and provides examples of how the LGBT community is driven to the margins of society. Following the developments, ILGA-Europe calls for the suspension of further negotiations about visa-free travel between the EU and Russia.

Council of Europe supports further action to combat sexual orientation and gender identify discrimination

On 22 January 2014, the Council of Europe’s executive body, the Committee of Ministers, supported further action by the Council and by member states to combat discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Northern Cyprus abolishes the last law in Europe criminalising homosexuality

On 27 January, Northern Cyprus lawmakers abolished Criminal Code provisions which punished consensual sexual acts between adult men with five years of imprisonment.

Children’s rights boosted as United Nations body now is able to hear individual complaints

Children whose rights have been violated will soon be able to complain to a key UN Committee after a new legal instrument on the rights of the child was ratified by the required 10 countries. This of course extends to LGBTQI children who will be able to bring in complaints against those countries who ratified the Optional Protocol. As of 14 January 2014 in Europe it is: Albania, Germany, Montenegro, Portugal, Spain, Slovakia and elsewhere: Bolivia, Gabon, Thailand, and Costa Rica

Important information about changes to procedure for applying to the European Court of Human Rights

There have been two important developments which anyone involved with taking cases under the European Convention should know about.

New publication: LGBTI Rights before the European Court of Human Rights: One Step at a Time

The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) has issued a position paper which examines key cases from the European Court of Human Rights concerning breaches of the rights of LGBTI people, and how these cases have influenced the development of legislation in Council of Europe Member States.

Publication: Violations of the Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender people in Georgia

In 2013, ILGA-Europe's member organisation in Georgia, identoba, submitted a comprehensive report on violations of the rights of LGBT people in Georgia to the United Nations Human Rights Committee.


Lithuanian parliament only one step away from Russian style homophobic law

On January 21 the Lithuanian parliament, Seimas considered MP Gražulis’ proposal to introduce harsh fines for the „denigration of family values“ during the public events such as gay prides. 46 MPs voted in favour of amendments to the Code of Administrative Violations of Law, 10 voted against and 22 abstained. Third final reading and voting at the plenary is still needed for the homophobic law to be finally adopted.

Constitutional Court  in Austria turns down insemination ban for lesbian couples

In a judgment delivered on the 18 January the Constitutional Court of Austria stressed that same-sex couples (with children) are family. Protection of the traditional family cannot justify the exclusion of same-sex couples from donor insemination as same-sex partnerships are not substituting marriage or different-sex cohabitation, but instead are complementing them. Also same-sex couples enjoy the fundamental right to medically assisted procreation, the 14 judges said. Restricting legal methods of medically assisted procreation to bridging fertility-problems in heterosexual partnerships and marriages is disproportionate and discriminatory.

Second-parent adoption delayed in Portugal

On 17 January, the Portuguese parliament decided to submit the draft law on second parent adoption for same-sex couples to a popular referendum. This delays and worst case scenario endangers a step towards same-sex parenting recognition in Portugal.

Luxembourg aims to introduce marriage equality before end of year

Luxembourg's Justice Minister Félix Braz announced on 8 January that the government would vote on a law proposal this summer and, if approved, would introduce marriage equality before the end of the year.

Freedom of assembly

Court in Hungary says police discriminated when banning the Budapest Pride March in 2012

On January 16, the Metropolitan Court of Budapest found that the Budapest Police committed direct discrimination and harassment based on sexual orientation when banning the Budapest Pride March in 2012. The case was launched by Háttér Society and an individual, who were represented in court by the Hungarian Helsinki Committee. The decision is appealable.

Freedom of expression

First media outlet fined for ‘homosexual propaganda’ in Russia

The homophobic legislation which was introduced in Russia last year has been used for the first time against media with the fining of a newspaper editor who reported about a school teacher allegedly fired because he was gay.

Homophobic law proposal rejected by Bulgarian parliament

Bulgarian MPs rejected a controversial legislative amendment providing criminal punishment for openly professing one's homosexual orientation. The amendment to Bulgaria's Criminal Code was proposed by nationalist party Ataka, and was swiftly seen as harsher than the homophobic legislation in Russia.
Read more about the rejection here


ILGA-Europe at UNAIDS Expert Consultation "Changing the Game"

ILGA-Europe was invited to take part in a consultation organised by UNAIDS in Geneva on 22-23 January 2014. The meeting, entitled “Changing the game - How can Europe move towards zero new HIV infections, zero AIDS-related deaths and zero discrimination?” brought together experts from European and international institutions, civil society organisations and representatives of key populations.

New resource: Bisexuality - Stonewall Health Briefing

The new resource from Stonewall (UK) provides evidence on the health and experiences of bisexual people in Britain. Bisexual people are less likely to access health services like cervical screening and more likely to have attempted to take their own lives than people in general.

New UNAIDS info graphic: Towards a free and equal world

HIV prevalence among gay men and other men who have sex with men remains on average 13 times higher than among the general population. Ending punitive laws based on sexual orientation and gender identity reinforces human rights and supports access to life-saving HIV services.The new info graphic is an important new resource compiled by UNAIDS – Towards a free and equal world. The info graphic highlights the 78 countries where adult consensual same-sex sexual conduct is criminalised including the 7 countries where this conduct is punishable by death.

Human rights defenders

The Ukrainian LGBT community and the EuroMaidan

It has been all over the news, that the Ukrainian population has been demonstrating against their government since late November last year. The events are being referred to as the EuroMaidan. The Ukrainian LGBT community has also been on the streets. Read here their statement about the LGBT community's role. Moreover a new report on the situation for LGBT people in Ukraine has been launched. Read the report here.

Special Issue of the Journal of Human Rights Practice on the Protection of Human Rights Defenders

This Special Issue has a unique focus on the issues and challenges that human rights defenders face and provides a critical analysis of protection initiatives and gaps. Available to download free until 28 February 2014, the papers in this special issue are not only for academics but also of great value to human rights defenders themselves, and human rights practitioners and others who work to ensure recognition and protection of human rights defenders.

Read more about the Issue here

Legal gender recognition

Report on upcoming legal gender recognition law proposal in Ireland launched

A joint committee in the Oireachtas (the parliament of Ireland) has launched a report prior the upcoming legal gender recognition law proposal. The report provides a number of recommendations eg. that a person who undergoes a transition of gender would have their acquired gender fully recognised by the State for all purposes – including the right to marry or enter a civil partnership in the acquired gender, and the right to a new birth certificate.

Notice board

Save the date: 5th European Transgender Council 2014 to be held 1-4 May 2014

Transgender Europe is organising the 5th European Transgender Council Trans*: Safe and Equal! that will take place in Budapest on 1 – 4 May 2014.
Read the call for scholarships and workshops holders here
Read more about the Council here

Job opportunity: Capacity Building Officer for Transgender Europe

Transgender Europe (TGEU) is looking for a full time (40h per week) Capacity Building Officer for TGEU's EqualTrans project “Advancing equality of transgender people in the European Union".

Training Course "Together against Homophobia and Sexism in Europe" 22-30 March in Berlin

solar e.V. is inviting about 25 participants from Poland, Lithuania, Portugal, Austria and Germany. The target groups are LGBTI+ activists, facilitators/ counsultants/ workshop promoters, who work and fight for LGBTI+ rights. The major aim of the course is to encourage each other by exchanging different perspectives, approaches and solutions on how to fight discrimination, sexism, trans/homophobia and heteronormativity in the different countries.

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
Contact us

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.