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LGBTI rights: 'It’s time to act!' says General Rapporteur

“It’s time to put an end to homophobia, transphobia, biphobia and intersexphobia, and to act decisively to achieve equality for all LGBTI people,” said Fourat Ben Chikha (Belgium, SOC), General Rapporteur on the rights of LGBTI people, on the occasion of the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, Biphobia, and Intersexphobia (IDAHOBIT, 17 May 2021).

“For far too long and in far too many countries, the rhetoric of hatred and intolerance has been allowed to flourish – and in some cases even to shape government policy, directly harming the rights of LGBTI people and impacting their daily lives,” he regretted.

“Unfortunately, stalled progress, backsliding and outright attacks have dominated the picture as regards the rights of LGBTI people over the past year,” he noted. “The pandemic has shown how fragile the rights of LGBTI people still are today, even in countries where progress towards equality has been most marked. Vulnerable LGBTI young people have been locked down in hostile family situations or pushed into homelessness; those defending the rights of LGBTI people have had to divert resources from long-term advocacy towards emergency assistance to LGBTI persons in need; the strain on healthcare systems has impacted trans and intersex persons’ access to specialised care, as well as persons living with HIV; the space for activism and visibility has narrowed; and many policymakers have given lower priority to protecting the rights of LGBTI people during the pandemic.”

“Governments and parliaments in Council of Europe member States must tackle hatred and discrimination against LGBTI people within their national borders with renewed energy and urgency, speak out against homophobia, transphobia, biphobia and intersexphobia in discourse, practice and policy wherever they occur, and use the numerous Assembly and Council of Europe standards and instruments at their disposal to hold others to account,” he underlined. “We must stop failing LGBTI people in their quest for equality throughout Europe, and work actively to achieve it. It’s time to act!”