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No. 223, March 2014. In this issue...


Bias motivated speech

Bias motivated violence

Equality and non-discrimination


Foreign policy


Human rights defenders

Notice board


Launch of Campaign with #NoHateEP2014

On Wednesday 19 March, ILGA-Europe and ENAR (the European Network Against Racism), together with some of the main European political parties, launched an Appeal for an election campaign free from discrimination and intolerance.

Come Out: March update and why it matters with European parties

On 19 March, we published the update for March month on our Come Out campaign. 163 candidates for the European elections had already signed ILGA-Europe’s Come Out Pledge. Since then 26 new signatures have been added - just within a week. Today we can count 212 supporters. ILGA-Europe looked in details into the European parties they represent. Moreover we explored the Come Out sub-theme of Come Out for Human Rights. 

Gender equality is a common goal - International Women's Day

8 March is marked as the International Women’s Day. The day gives us a platform to highlight the widespread gender inequalities in Europe, and to remind us all that the roots that nurture gender inequality and discrimination against LGBTI people are the same. This is why the fight for women’s rights are everyone’s fight.

ILGA-Europe and other LGBTI organisations met with US Vice President, Joe Biden

On 20 March, ILGA-Europe and other LGBTI organisations met with US Vice-President Joe Biden. The meeting was set up with the partners of the global programme called Dignity for All: LGBTI Assistance Program, and on the agenda was the US government’s work on LGBTI issues in foreign policy.

Peter Ashman - an important figure in the founding of ILGA

Nigel Warner, ILGA-Europe Council of Europe adviser, remembers Peter Ashman.

Peter Ashman died on 21 February 2014, at the age of 63, after a short, brave struggle with pancreatic cancer.

Winner of Fellowship Prize donates to ILGA-Europe

On 18 March, economist Dr. Ralph De Haas became the winner of the first Willem F. Duisenberg Fellowship Prize. He decided to donate a significant part of the prize to support the work of ILGA-Europe in the hope that his contribution will in particular help ILGA-Europe to strengthen its activities in former-USSR countries.

Bias motivated speech

Homophobic statements by the Archbishop of Cyprus

At the Council of the Heads of the Christian Orthodox Church held in Istanbul last week, Cyprus’ Archbishop Chrysostomos urged all Orthodox Churches to “condemn homosexuality.” The Archbishop stated that governments demonstrated “weakening moral integrity” by ensuring equal rights, for example through civil partnerships or equal marriage.

Bias motivated violence

New publication: Transposition Guidelines on the EU's Victims' Rights Directive

ILGA-Europe has just published its Transposition Guidelines on the EU's Victims' Rights Directive. This Directive is a new legislation that Member States have to implement by November 2015. All EU Member States and EU candidate countries will eventually have to comply with its provisions. They can also decide to do better and to provide even more rights to victims of crime. ILGA-Europe's guidelines explain in full details all the new obligation of the States in relation to hate crimes and victims of hate crimes.

ECRI criticises Germany on racism and intolerance

Germany has to do more in its fight against racism and intolerance, according to the Council of Europe's Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI). In its report, published on  25 February, ECRI demands tougher penalties and greater sensitivity for racist and homophobic crimes.
Read more about ECRI's criticism here

Man sentenced 25 years in prison for murder based on homophobia in Belgium

The Liège Court of Assizes has sentenced a man to 25 years in prison for a murder based on homophobia. It's the first time in Belgian history that homophobia has been cited as an aggravating circumstance in a Belgian murder case.

Turkey’s new hate crime law ignores LGBTI people

On 2 March, the Turkish parliament accepted the 6th Democratization Package which prohibits discrimination as well as hate crime, however, not on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Equality and non-discrimination

Summary of seminar: 10 years of LGBT rights: Successes, Failures, Challenges

On 5 March, the European Parliament's Intergroup on LGBT Rights held a seminar “10 years of LGBT rights: Successes, failures, challenges.” Under the chairing of Ulrike Lunacek, Co-President of the LGBT Intergroup, ILGA-Europe, Transgender Europe, Amnesty International, MEPs and the EEAS discussed both concrete achievements of the last five years, and issues to be tackled after the 2014 elections.

Four homophobic initiatives to be considered in the Lithuanian Parliament

Chair of the Lithuanian Parliament Loreta Graužinienė and Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius presented the tasks for the spring session of the Parliament on 10 March. Four homophobic bills and amendments to the existing laws are scheduled for the Spring session.

Survey on multiple discrimination: Stop discrimination against young people!

The European Youth Forum has launched in-depth survey into multiple discrimination. The survey is aiming to collect information at both European and national levels about discrimination based on age and interlinked to other forms of discrimination such as that based on race, ethnicity, nationality, sex and sexuality.

New ENAR report: No equal opportunities in jobs for ethnic and religious minorities in Europe

ENAR (the European Network Against Racism) has launched their 2012/2013 shadow report. The report shows that Black people, Roma, Muslims, migrants from non-EU countries, and women with a minority or migrant background living in Europe, discrimination is a major obstacle when looking for a job.


Prime Minister of Georgia calls to exclude same-sex couples in terms of marriage on constitutional level

On 28 March, the Prime Minister of Georgia Irakli Garibashvili announced the initiative to define “family” as union between a man and a woman in the Georgian Constitution. Mr. Garibashvili addressed the State Constitutional Commission of Georgia today and introduced this initiative at the government meeting.
Read more about the initiative here

Working group in the Estonian parliament to codify cohabitation

A working group including members of all four parties in the Estonian parliament is initiating a law proposal that will allow cohabitation to be officially registered by both different-sex and same-sex couples. The law proposal is a candidate to be fast-tracked - the goal is for the legislation to come into force on 1 July.

Portugal rejects second parent adoption for same-sex partners 

On 14 March, the Portuguese parliament rejected a law proposal that would allow second parent adoption for same-sex partners. The proposal was rejected by 112 votes against, mainly from the centre-right coalition government, 107 against and four abstentions.

Civil Partnership Act 2014 approved by the Gibraltar parliament

On 21 March, the parliament of Gibraltar approved the Civil Partnership Act 2014. The act is applicable to both same-sex and different-sex couples. Morover same-sex couples are now also capable to apply for joint adoption. Thus what was a binding judicial decision concerning these rights to same-sex couples now pass to being legislatively enshrined. Lastly full rights in all areas regarding pensions, allowances, and tax and parallel to those available under Marriage. The law came into force on 28 March, and the date for operation of the Register is still to be announced. It is expected this is likely to take no more than 6 weeks.

Freedom of expression

Lithuanian Parliament postponed the consideration of the amendment to the Code of Administrative Violations

The draft amendment to the Lithuanian Code of Administrative Violations, proposed by MP P. Gražulis, seeks to introduce administrative liability for any public defiance of the constitutionally established family values. According to this amendment, actions considered as defying traditional family values will result in administrative fine ranging from 1000 to 6000 LTL (300-1800 EUR).

Foreign policy

Sweden suspends some aid to Uganda over homophobic law

Sweden has suspended some of its financial aid to Uganda over a law that toughened punishment for LGBT people, becoming the fourth donor to do so. Sweden follows the World Bank, Norway and Denmark, who have withheld or diverted aid totalling about $110 million. 


Over 300 health and human rights NGOs from 92 countries appeal to WHO Director

In 2013, representatives of United States, Thaïland and other countries sent a proposal to the WHO Executive Board to address LGBT issues in health. Harsh discussions took place at the Executive Board meeting in May 2013 and a number of members refused this item to be kept on the agenda. From May to January 2014, the WHO’s Director General, Dr Chan led negotiations with different regions to agree on a compromise wording but despite her efforts, no agreement could be reached. As a result, over 300 LGBT rights NGOs and organisations working on sexual and reproductive health from 92 countries wrote a letter to Director General Chan to encourage further dialogue and to ask for more research on LGBT health.

Human rights defenders

New EU data protection law: MEPs want to protect LGBT people’s privacy

On 12 March, the European Parliament adopted two new laws at first reading to reform data protection in the European Union. Until now, the EU regulated data protection via a 1995 directive, ill fitted for the modern omnipresence of personal data. The European Commission proposed a new EU framework in the form of two legal texts: a directive and a regulation. The European Parliament adopted several amendments to these two proposals. They include measures to protect private information relating to individuals’ sexual orientation and gender identity.

Notice board

International Conference: Deconstruction of a religious counter-attack

The Université Libre de Bruxelles is organising on 15-16 May 2014 an international conference aiming at deconstructing arguments of those who oppose LGBT rights based on what they call the “gender theory” or “gender ideology”. The objectives of the conference are to explore where those arguments come from, how they are disseminated, why they are so successful and which networks and alliances are using them.

Pink Therapy's Fifth International Summer School

UK based Pink Therapy is organising a five day non-residential training course is primarily aimed at psychologists, psychotherapists and sexologists working outside the UK who would like to update their knowledge on contemporary issues of working with LGBTIQ or Gender and Sexual Diversity clients and to share their experiences of working with these diverse populations.

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.