24/05/2013 Equality and Non-Discrimination
Strasbourg, 24.05.2013 - The PACE Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination, meeting in Paris today, expressed deep concern at the repeated infringement, in some Council of Europe member states, of the right of freedom of assembly and freedom of expression in relation to LGBTs and at the clear setback in this area due to the introduction of laws and draft laws on the prohibition of so-called homosexual propaganda.
"The Council of Europe action in the area of discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity is highly important to ensure that the same human rights standards are applied in all its member states and that the respect for diversity is a shared value without geographical or political divides," the Committee stressed in a draft recommendation adopted unanimously on the basis of a report prepared by Hakon Haugli (Norway, SOC).
"All Council of Europe member states share the same heritage of prejudice and hostility against LGBTs, but they all share the same human rights obligations, namely those set out in the European Convention on Human Rights. What could at first sight appear as a divide - between some states moving forward and others lagging behind or slipping back - is rather a different speed in the course of a historical process. We politicians, through our example and discourse, as well as laws are powerful driving forces to promote changes in society," Mr Haugli stressed.
The report together with a draft resolution proposing concrete measures to combat discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity and a draft recommendation are scheduled for debate at the PACE plenary session in Strasbourg in June.