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Commissioner: EU Leaders Must Act On Anti-LGBT Discrimination

Commissioner: EU Leaders Must Act On Anti-LGBT Discrimination


Thomas Hammarberg, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, has again spoken out to call on leaders of European memeberstates to address human rights violations against their LGBT citizens.

Hammarberg, who earlier this year wrote a piece for New Europe in which he was particularly critical of states like Croatia and Latvia for failing to adequately protect the rights — and indeed the lives– of their LGBT citizens during Pride events and in choosing to exercise their right to freedom of speech and assembly, has now turned his attention to the disproportionately high cases of anti-LGBT violence in Turkey in an opinion piece published in the Hurriyet Daily News.

In the piece Hammarberg says:

No less than 36 hate killings were recorded in Council of Europe member states in the period of January 2008 to November 2010. Of these cases 13 were reported from Turkey. This according to reports from a reliable non-governmental source (Transgender Europe). Harassment and violence by police toward LGBT persons has also been flagged as a major concern by several human rights organizations and activists in the country, including in a report published by the Istanbul Provincial Human Rights Board.

Citing the recently published Council of Europe report into the state of LGBT rights in the EU, “Discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity in Europe,” Hammarberg goes on to write of the obstacles LGBTs face in the union with regards to basic exercises of freedom and criminalization, and then turns his attention to Europe’s transgender citizens, whom he notes currently suffer extremely high levels of discrimination:

There has been little response to national studies and reports that flag that a disproportionate number of young LGBT persons see no other way out than committing suicide due to the non acceptance of their sexual orientation or gender identity by their peers and families. Very few countries recognize homophobic or transphobic violence in their hate crime legislation.

Transgender persons face particularly severe human rights problems in almost all areas of life. If they want their preferred gender to be legally recognized, in 29 member states they face a legal requirement to undergo gender reassignment surgery, leading to infertility. Some 15 member states even require the transgender person to be unmarried in order to obtain recognition, which entails mandatory divorce if the person is already married.

Hammarberg goes on to again call on leaders of European memberstates to muster the necessary ”genuine political will” to tackle these issues, saying that governments must take a diverse approach by acting both through the legislative and the policy process — that it is not enough to solely legislate against discrimination because politicians must also lead by example and halt what he calls the “disturbing” anti-LGBT rhetoric he has observed being offered on the political stage in some memberstates.

You can read the full piece here.

Related Reading:

Ireland’s Trans Population Must Divorce to Gain Recognition?

Europe Failing LGBTs Says Report

Lichtenstein Voters Support Gay Partnerships


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Photo used under the Creative Commons Attribution License with thanks to Roch Cohen.

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9:09PM PST on Dec 10, 2011

Those statistics are astonishing!

2:48PM PDT on Aug 31, 2011

the EU human rights commissiner would be as well off dealing with the europe wide discrimination against Fathers and children who are appearently not protected by the European convention of human rights in europes family courts.
But for him to say so would not be PC!!!.

10:16PM PDT on Aug 28, 2011

Good comments listed already. I pray that every country take the needed steps forward too. Thanks Steve

9:16PM PDT on Aug 28, 2011

A good step forward..but not fast enough or far reaching enough, especially in places like Uganda where they are seriously legislating hanging gays.
I just don't get it..the repeal of DOMA takes absolutely notging away from those who want it other than their quieting their absurd statistics and feeling of superiority over others.
Equality to them means that won't be percieved to be "better" than someone else, and God only know how repugs and right wing christion need that feeling of superiority.

5:01PM PDT on Aug 28, 2011

Good for him. I am hoping for the day when countries will have a strong civil rights law for ALL their citizens. I am further looking to the day when those that don't will be shuned by those that do. That is the only way we will put an end to violence against all people.

1:20PM PDT on Aug 28, 2011

faith v., you make some incredibly insightful points. THANK YOU!!

1:04PM PDT on Aug 28, 2011


12:45PM PDT on Aug 28, 2011

Yes---it's time!! It's past time.....but the leaders foww the people most of the time.....come on EU, do what's right!! The US might follow your lead, too.

7:55AM PDT on Aug 28, 2011

Care2 please reinstall the character count!!

In the weeks before the WTC buildings came down, by whatever means, the focus was on GWBush’s entertainment value and a missing intern whose supposedly responsible politician had a disturbingly large grin plastered on his face. After 9/11/2001 we never had another laugh at GWB’s expense and when they did find the intern it was an also-ran. There were so many new problems raining down on us that we had no time to assess one before ten new ones arrived.

This has turned out to be an excellent policy – if your aim is to screw the poor into the ground, and continue making new poor to fill the quota of screwables. Keep them busy fighting for their basic rights and they will have no time, energy or money to notice what else is going on. The other side “has” to fight all the sideshows to protect their right to be parasites with more money than they can ever spend.

Sad and silly? I would say deliberate and criminal.

7:53AM PDT on Aug 28, 2011

Randall, could the extent of other problems be the very reason why totally personal situations like LGBT (and the entire family planning complex) are pushed up front?

- for one thing, personal chitchat and other people's problems are fascinating to many people, hence the success of soap series, trashy newspapers, gossip columns etc.

- two, the greater the fear, the greater the resistance. DOMA claims to protect hetero marriages by forbidding single-sex ones. What rubbish! No lesbian would ever get off with my very hetero husband, no matter how strong his feelings for her were. And my husband would NEVER respond to the advances of a gay man, assuming the gay would make any. Same (mirror) difference in my friendships with wonderfully sympathetic gay men. They are not into anything more than conversation with me, and I'm not into more than that with any lesbians.

- So we are manipulated into focusing and concentrating our energy on sideshows instead of the extreme problems the politicians SHOULD be solving, and COULD be solving – only they don’t want you to notice that.

In the weeks before the WTC buildings came down, by whatever means, the focus was on GWBush’s entertainment value and a missing intern whose supposedly responsible politician had a disturbingly large grin plastered on his face. After 9/11/2001 we never had another laugh at GWB’s expense and when they did find the intern it was an also-ran. There were so many new problems raining

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