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Homophobia, not homosexuality, is the disease to eradicate

Strasbourg, 16.05.2013 – To mark the International Day against Homophobia (May 17), Håkon Haugli, General rapporteur on the rights of LGBT people of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), made the following statement:

“On 17 May 1990 the World Health Organisation removed homosexuality from the International Classification of Diseases. This was an important step forward in the path towards equality regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity. Since then, the situation of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people (LGBTs) in Europe has substantially improved.

Despite this progress, however, prejudice, hostility and discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity are still widespread. In a number of Council of Europe member states, LGBT people are discriminated against even in the enjoyment of basic rights, such as freedom of expression and assembly. They are often victims of homophobic hate speech and violence, against which they fail to obtain adequate protection.

Homophobia, not homosexuality, is the disease which must be eradicated in order to achieve full respect for the human rights of all. Politicians have a special responsibility to ensure that this objective is pursued with resolve, through the adoption of laws which are fully in line with international human rights obligations. Politicians should also lead by example: they should establish a relationship of communication and trust with the LGBT community and publicly condemn all manifestations of homophobic discourse, including those made by their peers.”