In its Resolution 1728 (2010), the Parliamentary Assembly found that “lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, as well as human rights defenders working for the rights of LGBT people, face deeply rooted prejudices, hostility and widespread discrimination all over Europe”.
Since the adoption of this resolution, developments in this area have been mixed.
In many member States of the Council of Europe, specific legal measures, policies and action plans have been introduced to ensure equality and non-discrimination for LGBTs. Similarly, in some countries, homophobic discourse has been recognised as a form of hate speech and campaigns have been undertaken to combat homophobic violence and bullying, including in schools.
In other Council of Europe member States, however, the situation has deteriorated, as it has been acknowledged in statements by the Secretary General of the Council of Europe and the Commissioner for Human Rights.
Amongst developments which raise great concern is the adoption of laws prohibiting so-called ‘propaganda of homosexuality’ by several cities and regions. In some countries, proposals to prohibit so-called ‘propaganda of homosexuality’ at national level have been submitted to parliament. These initiatives raise serious questions as regards freedom of expression. They also risk contributing to a climate of hostility against LGBTs, which is already fuelled by extremist movements which target minority groups in their propaganda and whose strength is increasing with the economic crisis.
The Assembly should evaluate developments which have occurred since its Resolution 1728 (2010), identify good practices in the area of non-discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity to be further promoted and formulate recommendations to bring Council of Europe member States fully in line with human rights standards.