LGBTI equality and human rights in Europe and Central Asia

August 2020

Police brutality in Poland, major survey on LGBTQI  homelessness, Danish government's promises, and much more...

 

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No. 299. August 2020. In this issue...

ILGA-Europe

Employment

Equality and non-discrimination

Freedom of assembly

Freedom of expression

Hate crime

Hate speech

Health

Notice board

 

ILGA-Europe

Major survey on LGBTIQ youth homelessness in Europe and Central Asia launched

ILGA-Europe, in association with the international LGBTIQ youth homelessness organisation, True Colors United, the European Federation of National Organisations Working with the Homeless (FEANTSA) and the Silberman School of Social Work at the City University of New York, launched a survey to hear from LGBTIQ groups and organisations what their experience is when it comes to LGBTIQ youth homelessness, what initiatives they have taken, and most of all, what more is needed to further engage in such work.
The survey can be found here, and it takes approximately 15 minutes to complete.
Watch back our Insta-Live with True Colors United.
 

Consultancy: Assess ILGA-Europe’s recruitment policies and practices through an intersectional lense

ILGA-Europe are looking for a consultant or team of consultants to critically assess the organisation’s recruitment policies and practices with a view of enabling learning from both good practices and shortcomings of our current approach. The consultancy should identify concrete recommendations to address existing barriers in access to employment and to strengthen ILGA-Europe’s staff policies from an intersectional perspective.
Read more on the terms of reference and apply by Thursday, 10 September 2020 – 23:59 CEST.

Employment

What does the Rainbow Map mean for employers?

“We strongly urge our members, and all employers from whatever sector, to engage at the highest levels with national and local governments in those countries where they employ people and in which they invest in order to improve the situation for LGBTI people.” This call was made by David Pollard, Executive Director of Workplace Pride, in the summer edition of New Horizons magazine, which takes an in-depth look at ILGA-Europe’s Rainbow Map through the lens of LGBTI workplace inclusion and employers.
Read the full article.

Equality and non-discrimination

Danish government launches historic legislation promises

On 22 August, the Danish government released a package of LGBTI legislative promises that, if adopted, will be a leap forward in the protection of the rights of LGBTI people in Denmark. These include removal of the waiting limit and age restrictions on legal gender recognition, hate crimes protections on the bases of gender identity, gender expression, and sex characteristics, recognition of trans parents, and access to an X marker on passports. (Photo credit: Komiteen LGBT)
Read more.

Freedom of assembly

Poland: International institutions must protect LGBTI citizens

On 7 August, 48 Polish LGBTI activists suffered police violence and were detained when protesting the arrest of Margot Szutowicz, who had vandalised a van bearing homophobic slogans and had draped a rainbow flag over a public monument. Margot was released from unjust pre-trial detention on 28 August. This event was the last in a ongoing escalation of state- and authorities led LGBTI-phobia and discrimination. (Photo credit: Aleksandra Perzynska / KPH)
Read more on our press release with updates in August.
ILGA-Europe has prepared a summary timeline of the anti-LGBT hatred leading up to this moment to show the extent and nature of the problem and call on European institutions on adequate responses towards the Polish authorities.
Download the timeline between 2018 to 2020.
A question ILGA-Europe have received quite often is whether towns should end twinning agreements with Polish cities that have declared themselves to be “LGBTI-free zones”. The answer from Polish activists it NO, please do not cancel the agreements, but instead use them for a clear and constructive dialogue for LGBTI rights and against discrimination. ILGA-Europe prepared a info leaflet on how twin towns can help advocate against the discriminatory Family Charters.
Download the document on how to advocate with twinning towns.

Freedom of expression

How you can help persecuted Russian LGBT+ activist, Yulia Tsvetkova

By the end of 2018, Yulia Tsvetkova had already made some of her dreams come true: opening a theatre for kids, launching a sex-ed project for teenagers, and creating feminist resources online. Less than two years later, this feminist and LGBT+ activist is facing up to six years in prison, is receiving death threats, and cannot leave her town in Russia’s Far East. Learn more about Yulia’s story in this blog, and the ways you might help her cause.
 

Kyrgyz President didn’t sign the controversial bill

A controversial bill that the Kyrgyz Parliament initiated this year on restricting manipulations with information was not signed by the President of the Kyrgyz Republic. The bill was heavily criticised by human rights defenders. LGBTI activists raised concern about the bill claiming that it could be potentially used to restrict the public access to information on sexual orientation and gender identity. The bill passed three hearings at the Parliament and in June was sent to the President of the Kyrgyz Republic for signature. In July, although the President publicly expressed his principal support that such bills could be needed, he refused to adopt it and returned the bill to the Parliament with remarks that it needed to be improved. (Photo source: Office of the President of the Kyrgyz Republic)

Hate crime

Police raid in a gay club in Kazakhstan

On 3 August, during a police raid in a gay club in Astana, the capital city of Kazakhstan to enforce measures against coronavirus, the police humiliated the detainees with questioned their sexual orientation and said that ‘gays should be shot’. As to teenagers who were detained, the police called their parents asking them to pick up their children at the detention centre. Once the parents arrived, the police outed the children’s allegedly LGBT identity to their parents. Some of the victims of the raid reported to Kok.team that the police behaved unprofessionally, and were rude calling them with homophobic names, and humiliating. (Photo credit: Kok.team)

Hate speech

Hatred against LGBT community in Uzbekistan on YouTube

In August, LGBTI activists in Uzbekistan alerted a blogger who had released a video containing condemnation of LGBT people. On his YouTube channel the blogger Doston Shuxratovich spreads hatred against LGBT people, names LGBT dating platforms on social media and urges his blog readers to ‘catch gays and lesbians’ and beat them up. Not only does the blogger instigate hatred against LGBT, but also publicly calls for the change of the constitutional system in Uzbekistan by claiming that it shall become an Islamic state where LGBT people should not be tolerated. Since same-sex relations in Uzbekistan are criminalised, LGBTI activists cannot reach out to the police to file complaints against the blogger.
 

Ethics Committee of the Latvian Parliament fails to condemn MP who retweeted “LGBT-free zones”

On 5 August, the Ethics Committee of the Latvian Parliament failed to condemn the actions of MP Janis Iesalnieks, who in July had retweeted a post of an “LGBT-free zone” sign, similar to those in Poland. Previously he has expressed that he is against so-called “LGBT ideology”. The Committee voted that he was exercising his freedom of expression. Activists have called on international institutions to condemn endorsing or turning a blind eye to hate-speech.

Health

New report on COVID-19 in marginalised groups

Nobody Left Outside, an EU initiative focused on raising the voices of marginalised and vulnerable populations in their access to health, has published a thorough report mapping the current COVID-19 situation for marginalised populations onto the WHO Health Equity Status Report (HESR). This framework "illustrates that governmental responses aiming to control the pandemic and to protect citizens are not addressing the specific challenges faced by marginalised groups and in some cases may have negative consequences." Targeted advocacy with national and regional WHO offices, as well as with national Ministries of Health, provide great opportunities for using this report.

 


Notice board

European Anti-Poverty Network is recruiting a Policy and Advocacy Coordinator

The European Anti-Poverty Network is the biggest European network of national, regional and local networks,active in the fight against poverty and social exclusion. EAPN is recruiting a Policy and Advocacy Coordinator to lead the delivery on our Strategic Priorities around policy and advocacy (with a focus on social protection). Closing date for applications is 14 September 2020 at 09 00 CET. Interviews of shortlisted candidates will be held in during the week of 5 October. The ideal candidate should be able to start in early December 2020.
Read more and apply.

COVID-19 Litigation Fund supports strategic cases challenging digital rights violations

The Digital Freedom Fund launched the Litigation Fund to support "rapid response" strategic cases in Council of Europe countries challenging digital rights violations committed in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Grants will support litigation through the whole process, from first instance to the final appeal stage, including possible appeals and referrals to a regional court. The grants are aimed at funding cases that relate to digital rights violations that are a result of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic or exacerbated by it.
Apply by 30 September.