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Some countries 'slipping back' to discrimination against LGBT people, says PACE rapporteur

Strasbourg, 18.03.2013 - Some Council of Europe member states are "squarely slipping back" towards greater discrimination on the ground of sexual orientation and gender identity, according to PACE rapporteur Håkon Haugli (Norway, SOC), speaking on the eve of a major conference on freedom of expression for LGBT people to take place in Warsaw on Tuesday 19 March.

Presenting a memorandum to PACE's Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination, Mr Haugli said that all countries faced challenges but there was a group of countries which "systematically oppose any decision that would lend recognition or explicitly affirm rights for LGBTs".

In these countries, the biggest problems were restrictions on freedom of expression, association and assembly, and a refusal to consider sexual orientation and gender identity as unlawful reasons for discrimination, he pointed out. The gap between those countries where the protection of LGBT people was improving and those lagging behind was "growing wider and deeper", he added.

Tomorrow's conference in Warsaw will bring together parliamentarians and experts to look at the latest information on laws around Europe banning so-called "homosexual propaganda", as well as hearing from the organisers of "gay pride" marches that have recently been banned.

The report by Mr Haugli, who is also PACE's General Rapporteur on the rights of LGBT people, is due to be debated by the Assembly at its June session.