Where legal protection of the human rights of LGBTI people is concerned, there is gradual progress in many European countries. However, Europe as a whole is far from guaranteeing full respect of LGBTI people’s human rights.
The Rainbow Europe Map 2014 shows that the European average on the measure of legal protection is still very low – only 36%. The average for EU countries (46%) does not even reach the half-way mark. This said, the gaps between European countries remains enormous and ranges between the top score of 82% (UK) and the bottom score of 6% (Russia). Most worryingly, 34 out of 49 European countries (including 14 EU Member States) are below 50% mark.
“Advocacy based on solid facts is what we need for advancing the human rights of LGBTI people. ILGA-Europe and its national member organisations have first-hand knowledge of what is going on and share their insights and concerns through the Annual Review and the Rainbow Map. In addition to holding countries accountable for their actions, the Annual Review also gives a critical account of the steps taken by international organisations. It is a valuable tool for a serious debate about the human rights situation of LGBTI persons across Europe.” Nils Muižnieks, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights
“Mapping, monitoring and analysing homophobia is one of the best ways to expose it and fight it. The 2013 edition of the Annual Review of the Human Rights Situation of LGBTI People and the Rainbow Europe Map are two powerful instruments in this struggle. Members of the European Parliament will continue to use and support the good work of ILGA Europe in achieving a Europe free from prejudice and discrimination.” Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament
“Homophobia and transphobia are blatant violations of human dignity and are incompatible with the principles on which the EU is founded. Shockingly however, LGBT people across the EU are still victims of violence, exclusion and discrimination. The knowledge and experience of those working in the field are crucial to draw an accurate picture of the different legal and social realities faced by LGBT people across the EU. Public policies combatting discrimination can only be effective if they are based on practical knowledge. This is why I very much welcome ILGA Europe’s Annual Review, which is an extremely useful tool for those fighting discrimination and promoting equality in Europe. The European Commission is fully committed to this goal.” Viviane Reding, European Union Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship
Today, same-sex couples can marry in several EU Member States. In a few, they can adopt children and start a family in different ways. Slowly, transgender persons are given equal rights and therefore the opportunity to live the life accordingly with the person on the inside. This is all good developments, but we also see huge differences within Europe. It is with heavy sadness we hear about same-sex couples and rainbow families do not enjoy the same rights as heterosexual couples and their children, not the fundamental EU-right of free movement. LGBT people are not only discriminated, but also subject to violence and hatred around the world and within the EU. The EU might not have competence on all areas, but LGBT people and their families should enjoy fundamental rights and freedoms equally. ILGA-Europe is an important force in this. The Annual Review and Rainbow Europe Map provide us with useful pointers, which we can use to identify where we need to improve legislation to make life better for all in Europe. We do not only change the world through European legislation, there are other political levels and we should not forget individual responsibility and the need for change in attitudes. I believe information exchange also lead to progress, if we use the information we have. On this ILGA-Europe’s Annual Review is very useful. Fighting homophobia and transphobia has always been a political priority for me. I will continue the fight for the right to love and the right to be yourself. We need to continue this struggle for equality together.” Cecilia Malmström, European Union Commissioner for Home Affairs
“LGBTI people continue to suffer from violence, hatred and discrimination simply because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. In today’s Europe, founded on the values of equality and non-discrimination, this should not be the case. This is why ILGA-Europe’s Annual Review is a timely reminder of the reality that the LGBTI community continues to face day by day. While the review highlights the many difficulties, it also showcases best practices and recent positive legislative developments as a bridge between civil society, national human rights structures and policy makers on a road to improving the lives of the millions of LGBTI people across Europe.” Morten Kjærum, Director of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights
“The Rainbow Europe Map and the Annual Review of the Human Rights Situation of LGBTI People in Europe have again shown us that despite progress in some countries, there is still a long way to go before all LGBTI people can fully enjoy their rights. Both EU and non-EU countries are responsible for violations of LGBTI people’s human rights, and must be held to account. We expect the EU and Council of Europe to take much bolder action against any member state which fails to meet its obligations.” Dr. Nicolas J. Beger, Director of Amnesty International European Institutions Office