Council of Europe meet in landmark discussion on gay rights

Russia attends gay equality conference after enacting hate law

Council of Europe meet in landmark discussion on gay rights
29 March 2012

The Council of Europe dedicated an entire day for the first time to discuss gay rights at the Palais de l’Europe on Tuesday (27 March).

Ministers came together in Strasbourg, France to discuss their recommendations on how gay equality can be achieved in all 47 member states.

It coincides with the United Nations debate held in early March, as representatives from countries around the globe met to discuss gender identity and sexual orientation.

Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland said: ‘Prejudice, discrimination and discriminatory laws towards LGBT persons constitute a violation of basic human rights and have no place in today’s Europe.

‘Progress is still needed throughout our continent for the promotion and protection of the human rights and dignity of LGBT persons.

‘This is not a minor question: discrimination faced by LGBT persons is still widespread, often considered to be justified; and frequently involves physical as well as psychological harm for those targeted. There is no excuse and no room for complacency.’

At the conference, UK Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone announced the UK will be joining the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Norway, Sweden and Finland in financing the new LGBT Unit within the Council of Europe.

David Chalmers, director of gay international human rights charity, Kaleidoscope Trust, said: ‘We have a lot of work to do here in Europe to achieve equality for our LGBT citizens and ensure that everyone’s human rights are respected and protected equally.’

The event was also attended by representatives from Russia, where gay hate laws have been introduced, famously in St Petersburg. The laws make it an administrative offence to engage in any ‘propaganda’ that gives minors the idea ‘traditional and non-traditional relationships are socially equal’.

The law has faced criticism from many rights activists, including pop star Madonna who said she would speak up for the gay community at her concert in St Petersburg this August.

The new LGBT Unit will monitor how member states are implementing the recommendations of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe to combat discrimination.  



No thumbnail available

Campaign calls for end to trans doctor 'witch hunt'

British transgender community slams GMC investigation into Dr Richard Curtis, saying GP's London clinic is a 'lifeline' to patients seeking transition
No thumbnail available

US pundit angry new film Noah didn’t blame flood on gay people

Anti-gay spokesman believes the 'left' is using religion to further causes, such as climate change and homosexuality
No thumbnail available

‘It’s about leadership ... you’ve got to translate whatever you want into the language of business’

Lord Browne of Madingley delivers an inspirtational lecture at the Workplace Pride Conference in The Hague
No thumbnail available

George Bush senior witnesses lesbian couple’s marriage

Former US president George Herbert Walker Bush has served as the official witness to a lesbian couple’s wedding, signing their marriage papers
No thumbnail available

Manhunt underway in Edinburgh over anti-gay attack

Authorities seek help from the public after two men were attacked outside a gay bar in Picardy Place
5 things a square meter in London's Kensington could buy you

5 things a square meter in London's Kensington could buy you

In London's most expensive borough, a sqaure meter costs an average of £12,000 - that's enough for a fairly comfortable round-the-world-trip
No thumbnail available

Duck Dynasty family ready to move on and keep making reality show

Willie and Korie Robertson, stars of the reality show Duck Dynasty, appear on Fox News on New Year's Eve
Want a gay superhero film? Marvel says it 'might' happen

Want a gay superhero film? Marvel says it 'might' happen

Marvel Studios' president has given a vague promise to when we will see a LGBTI character
No thumbnail available

Gay defiance in Moscow as British flag turns pink

‘Say cheese’ – UK citizen takes to Twitter to pose outside the Kremlin with gay flag
No thumbnail available

Pardon sought for gay computer war hero

Petitioners are seeking a pardon for Alan Turing who helped beat the Nazis but was persecuted for being gay.