“Rights are never to be taken for granted", said Christophe Lacroix (Belgium, SOC), the Assembly’s General Rapporteur on the rights of LGBTI people, during the meeting which officially launched the PACE Parliamentary Platform for the rights of LGBTI people in Europe. "The objective of this Platform is to use interparliamentary cooperation to strengthen the fight against anti-LGBTI discrimination. In the face of a well-funded, well-structured anti-gender movement, it is more important than ever to join forces to promote equality in this field", he said.
Ambassador Nina Nordstrom, Permanent Representative of Finland to the Council of Europe, Chair of the Committee of Ministers Rapporteur Group on Human Rights, expressed hope that the Platform and its work can attract attention to the broader standard-setting of the Council of Europe, “including the standards by which Member States must abide as well as important judgments of the European Court of Human Rights”. She also drew attention to the ongoing work of the organisation’s Steering Committee on Anti-Discrimination, Diversity and Inclusion (CDADI) on a recommendation to the Committee of Minsters on the equality and rights of intersex persons.
Council of Europe Congress member Andrew Boff stressed that prejudice against LGBTI people “often first finds its voice at a local level; engagement of local governments is vital to address this”. LGBTI rights, he said, “are under attack in Europe, but there are good examples of progress as many local authorities all around Europe are taking positive steps to include and recognise the needs of LGBTI people. We must fight for the rights of LGBTI people every day, at every level."
“The Council of Europe established a unique instrument for the protection of the human rights of LGBT people in 2015 via the Committee of Ministers Recommendation, and will soon do the same on the rights of intersex people", ILGA-Europe representative Katrin Hugendubel said. "Statements and written declarations coming from PACE help members of the LGBTI community feel that their situations are seen, and their struggles recognised by human rights institutions. We need this network to support the rights of LGBTI people”, she concluded.
The Parliamentary Platform for the rights of LGBTI people in Europe brings together MPs from the national delegations to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, observers and partners for democracy. The aim of the platform is to use interparliamentary cooperation to promote full and effective equality for LGBTI people throughout the continent. It enables members to press for change and work together on a wide range of activities to engage governments, inspire new laws and raise awareness.
The work programme for the coming months will include the situation of LGBTI asylum-seekers and refugees, the so-called “conversion therapies” and the protection of private and family life (rainbow families).
The platform is coordinated by the Assembly’s General Rapporteur on the rights of LGBTI people. Its creation followed an Assembly resolution adopted in January 2022 which condemned the recent rise in stigmatising, dehumanising attacks against LGBTI people and the backsliding in LGBTI rights seen in some countries.