European Region of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association

Vienna 2008

In 2008 our annual conference took place in Vienna on 30 October - 2 November.

The theme of this year's conference is " Think globally, act locally" and reflects the work of ILGA-Europe and its members on advocating for international human rights standards and practices and their implementation at the local level. We hope that conference’s experienced panel speakers will not only outline current achievements, but also inspire a vision for the future of LGBT Europe.

ILGA-Europe is pleased to announce that we have already received a confirmation from Mr Thomas Hammarberg, Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights, who will take part in one of the conference’s panel discussions.

HOSI Wien, the Austrian host organisation has already secured a high profile patronage of the conference - Heinz Fischer, Federal President of the Republic of Austria, has agreed to be honorary patron of the conference.

The following personalities have already agreed to be part of the conference’s “honorary committee”:

  • Barbara Prammer, President of the National Council (Parliament) of Austria
  • Eva Glawischnig-Piesczek, Third President of the National Council (Parliament) of Austria
  • Alfred Gusenbauer, Federal Chancellor of Austria
  • Ursula Plassnik, Foreign Minister of Austria
  • Maria Berger, Federal Minister of Justice
  • Heidrun Silhavy, Federal Minister for Women, Media and Regional Policy
  • Doris Bures, Member of the Federal Parliament
  • Michael Häupl, Mayor and Governor of Vienna (at the moment also President of the Council of European Municipalities and Regions, CEMR)

12th ILGA-Europe’s Annual Conference concluded in Vienna

A successful 12th annual conference of ILGA-Europe concluded in Vienna on 2 November. 230 participants from 40 countries took part in the conference. The theme of this year’s conference was “Think Globally, Act Locally”.

This year’s conference explored the current state of the international human rights standards related to sexual orientation and gender identity and explored a vision of human rights in the next decade and the strategies needed to achieve that vision. Two conference panels included the following distinguished guests and experts:

  • Thomas Hammarberg, Human Rights Commissioner of the Council of Europe
  • Morten Kjaerum, Director of the Fundamental Rights Agency of the European Union
  • Belinda Pyke, Director of the European Commission’s Directorate General Employment, Social Affairs and equal Opportunities
  • Professor Jack Donelly, Denver University, author of highly acclaimed by academics, students and human rights activists alike book “Universal Human Rights in Theory and Practice”.

The panels were echoed and complimented by a rich and diverse workshop programme.

The Annual Conference is also ILGA-Europe’s annual general meeting and following last year’s constitutional changes a new Executive Board election system was put into practice: half of the Executive Board was elected for the next two years and half for the next year. The following individuals were elected as ILGA-Europe’s Executive Board (first 5 for the next two years (2008-2010), and second 5 for the next year (2008-2009):

  1. Renato Sabbadini (Italy)
  2. Deborah Lambillotte (Belgium)
  3. Pierre Serne (France)
  4. Linda Freimane (Latvia)
  5. Ruth Baldacchino (Malta)
  6. Martin K.I. Christensen (Denmark)
  7. Paata Sabelashvili (Georgia)
  8. Christine Le Doaré (France)
  9. Louise Ashworth (UK)
  10. Tomasz Szypula (Poland)

Natasa Sukic (Slovenia) was elected as reserve member of Executive Board.

Ruth Baldacchino and Soren Juvas (Sweden) were elected as European representatives on ILGA Executive Board.

Janfrans Van Der Eerden (The Netherlands) and Jackie Lewis (UK) were elected as reserve European representatives on ILGA Executive Board.

The Conference has also voted to host ILGA-Europe’s Annual Conference in 2010 in The Hague (The Netherlands).

This year’s Annuals Conference was co-hosted by HOSI Wien and was the first ever ILGA-Europe’s Annual Conference under the patronage of a state head - Heinz Fischer, Federal President of the Republic of Austria, had agreed to be honorary patron of the Conference. Dr. Maria Berger, Federal Minister of Justice of Austria, attended the opening plenary of the Conference and delivered her greeting. A greeting to the Conference from Barbara Prammer, President of the National Council (Parliament) of Austria, was also read out. During the Conference the participants were invited by Michael Häupl, Mayor and Governor of Vienna to a reception at Vienna City Hall.

The next Annual Conference of ILGA-Europe in 2009 will be held in Malta and co-hosted by Malta Gay Rights Movement.

Conference declarations

During the final plenary session the annual conference approved two declarations on the proposed EU anti-discrimination directive.

1. Declaration from ILGA-Europe’s Annual Conference - 2 November 2008

We the delegates of the 12th Annual Conference of ILGA-Europe, the European Region of the International Lesbian and Gay Association, coming from over 35 countries, want to express our broad support for the European Commission proposal for directive on the principle of equal treatment outside employment for the grounds of age, disability, religion and belief and sexual orientation.

We welcome the strong support demonstrated by the French Presidency of the European Union for this much-needed piece of legislation.

We are however concerned that recent developments in the French Senate may undermine the positive work undertaken by the French Presidency on this initiative.

As representatives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) organisations from across Europe who work with people who experience discrimination on a daily basis because of their sexual orientation, their gender identity or their gender expression, we want to reiterate the need for this groundbreaking legislation which will ensure that each person in the EU is guaranteed legal protection against these forms of discrimination.

Therefore, we extend our support to the French Presidency in continuing to play a leadership role in making sure that we do not lose on this historical opportunity to put an end to the hierarchy of rights in the EU.

2. Declaration from ILGA-Europe’s Annual Conference - 2 November 2008

We the delegates of the 12th Annual Conference of ILGA-Europe, the European Region of the International Lesbian and Gay Association, coming from over 35 countries, want to express our broad support for the European Commission proposal for directive on the principle of equal treatment outside employment for the grounds of age, disability, religion and belief and sexual orientation.

We want to express our concerns with Germany’s position on this much-needed piece of legislation.

As representatives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) organisations from across Europe who work with people who experience discrimination because of their sexual orientation, we witness on a daily basis the detrimental consequences of the lack of legal protection on the different grounds of discrimination and in particular on sexual orientation.

In many of our countries, discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity is unfortunately seen by many to be “socially acceptable”. For us, legislation is an indispensable pre-condition to address the discrimination that LGBT people experience in our countries.

Therefore, we urge the German government not to prevent this historical opportunity to ensure that each person is protected against discrimination based on sexual orientation, age, disability and religion or belief, and to send an unequivocal message that the time when some grounds of discrimination were more acceptable than others need to come to an end.