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Rights of LGBTI people: advances achieved are under threat, PACE says

The Parliamentary Assembly expressed concern at the increase in hate speech, violence and hate crimes against LGBTI people in Council of Europe member States. “The scapegoating and violations of LGBTI people’s civil rights come to a large extent from political figures, including government representatives, as well as religious leaders,” the parliamentarians warned.

Adopting a resolution based on a report by Fourat Ben Chikha (Belgium, SOC), the Assembly strongly condemned “the extensive and often virulent attacks on the rights of LGBTI people for several years” notably in Hungary, Poland, the Russian Federation, Turkey and the United Kingdom, stressing that the significant advances achieved in recent years were today under threat.

During the debate, in which intervened the European Commissioner for Equality Helena Dalli, the parliamentarians deplored anti-gender narratives, which reduce the fight for the equality and rights of LGBTI people to what some conservative movements deliberately mis-characterise as “gender ideology” or “LGBTI ideology”.

In this context, the Assembly drew attention to the recent findings of the Venice Commission with regard to Hungary and called on member States not to enact legislation that was contrary to the rights of LGBTI persons and to repeal those already in force, including “anti-LGBTI-propaganda” laws. It urged the authorities of the Russian Federation to redouble their efforts to prosecute the perpetrators of human rights violations committed against LGBTI people in the Chechen Republic. The Assembly also called on the States concerned to implement without delay the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights in which violations of the rights of LGBTI people had been found. According to the adopted text, States should also strengthen their legislative framework against LGBTI-phobic crimes and introduce effective criminal law measures.

Finally, the PACE underlined that paradigm shifts in social and cultural understandings of gender equality, harmful masculinities and the rights of LGBTI people were still needed. It therefore called on States to conduct public awareness-raising campaigns and to create a parliamentary network to facilitate co-operation with and between national parliaments on this issue.