LGBTI equality and human rights in Europe and Central Asia

February 2022

 

Help transform realities for LGBTI communities across Europe and Central Asia.With your support we can do more. Make change happen here.

No. 317. February 2022. In this issue...

ILGA-Europe

Bias-motivated speech

Bias-motivated violence

Education

Equality and non-discrimination

Family

Human rights defenders

Rule of law

Notice board

To the top

ILGA-Europe

Support for LGBTI people in Ukraine

As is the world, at ILGA-Europe we are continually assessing the rapidly developing situation in Ukraine and the region, and in particular for LGBTI people. We are in contact with activists and other organisations working to support LGBTI communities in Ukraine and those fleeing, to better understand the needs and see what kind of support may be helpful. The situation on the ground is changing rapidly, and we will provide information on how best to support when appropriate. 

We are also in touch with activists in Russia and Belarus. As we all know, many people in Russia and Belarus are mobilising in protest against the Russian invasion. It is vital that in this time particularly, we continue to support those working for human rights in democracy in Belarus and Russia, and so ILGA-Europe continues to do this simultaneously. 

We are in groups where information is exchanged and will be taking part in calls with groups of Ukrainian activists in the coming days. 

We will provide updated information on our website regularly.

Behind the smokescreen of anti-LGBTI rhetoric, there’s a groundswell of allied determination to tackle hatred

Published on 15 February, ILGA-Europe’s Annual Review of the Human Rights Situation of LGBTI people in Europe and Central Asia finds that while there was a staggering rise in 2021 of anti-LGBTI rhetoric from politicians and other leaders, fuelling a wave of violence, with anti-LGBTI hate crime reported in every country, the response to this has been an allied determination in many countries, and at the European level, to tackle hatred and exclusion of LGBTI people.
Read more on our press release.
Download your own copy of the report.
 

EU enlargement countries called on to urgently ensure protection of the human rights of LGBTI people

On 24 February, ILGA-Europe and the LGBTI Equal Rights Association for Western Balkans and Turkey (ERA), published our annual Enlargement Review, which outlines the developments in recognising and respecting the human rights of LGBTI people in each enlargement country (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Turkey) from January to December 2021. The report urgently calls on all EU enlargement countries to properly implement their anti-discrimination, hate crime and hate speech legal frameworks, in the context of rising anti-gender, anti-rights and far-right groups.

Bias-motivated speech

Hungarian court rules that comparing LGBT people to pedophiles is lawful

On 1 February, an appeals court in Hungary ruled against Labrisz Lesbian Association, saying that an article in a pro-government newspaper likening them to pedophiles did not injure the group’s reputation. The court ruling reversed a November 2021 decision by a lower court that found comparing LGBT activists to pedophiles was both unfounded and offensive.

Bias-motivated violence

Joint manifesto for an inclusive and comprehensive EU gender-based violence policy for all

In the lead up to International Women’s Day, 8 March, and the expected publication of a draft EU law to address violence against women and domestic violence, ILGA-Europe joined 11 other organisations for a manifesto for a truly inclusive EU law and policy. We call on the European Union to adopt a forward-thinking and truly inclusive approach to gender-based violence - that leaves no one behind and strives to achieve real change in the lives of all people, without discrimination. (Photo credit: Emir Eğricesu)

Education

Parents Union of Qazaqstan is against “university reforms” because of potential “gay propaganda”

Recent educational reforms announced by the Qazaq President Tokaev came under attack by the Parents Union of Qazaqstan. According to the reforms, a number of state-run universities would be transferred under the trusteeship management of leading foreign universities. The Parents Union particularly opposed the transfer of the North Qazaqstan State University under the trusteeship management of the University of Arizona (AU), claiming that “the latter is famous in the United States not for the quality of education, but for providing benefits for LGBTQ+”. According to the President of the Parents Union Anar Kairbekova, AU promotes tolerance in lectures, teaches students to accept other people's gender roles, and provides housing for gay couples. She resented saying: “Do you want it in Qazaqstan? Thank you, no.” Co-founder of Feminist initiative “Feminita” Zhanar Sakerbaeva objected to Kairbekova, saying that students in all universities may identify themselves differently, and proposed that all educational institutions shall provide safer spaces to support LGBTQ+ students.

Equality and non-discrimination

LGBTQ+ organisations in Great Britain spark international review of the EHRC

On 22 February, a coalition of LGBTQ+ and trans focused charities and human rights bodies, led by Stonewall and supported by the Good Law Project, wrote to the United Nations and the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANRHI) to formally submit evidence to support calls for a Special Review of the ‘A’ status of EHRC as Great Britain’s National Human Rights Institution. For an NRHI to achieve an ‘A’ status, which allows them to participate at the UN Human Rights Council, they must be fully compliant with the Paris Principles.

“LGBTI people in Qazaqstan have no barriers to serve in the military”

Head of the Department of Organisational and Mobilisation Work of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Qazaqstan Saken Zhusupov was questioned by a reporter, if representatives of sexual minorities [LGBTI people] can serve in the army, and whether non-traditional [non-heterosexual] orientation would be a reason for refusal to conscribe into the military service. Saken Zhusupov responded that representatives of sexual minorities are the same citizens as everyone else in Qazaqstan, and there are no legal barriers for them to serve in the military. He added that according to the Qazaq Constitution, no one can be discriminated against under any circumstances. Reportedly, according to the Tengrinews.kz, the question had risen after a few cases when LGBTI people were refused to conscribe because of their sexual orientation.

Family

Trans woman recognised as child’s mother in landmark French court ruling

On 9 February, a court of appeal in the city of Toulouse ruled that a trans woman should be considered the mother of the child. The court said that France’s 2016 gender recognition laws have left an “undeniable legal vacuum” due to their lack of provision for trans parents, and ruled that it’s in the best interests of the child with a trans parent, or parents, to have a birth certificate that maintains their privacy and so it will be possible to list two mothers or two fathers on the birth certificate.
 

Family law in Denmark improved

On 10 February, the Danish parliament passed a bill improving the rights of rainbow families in the country. Persons using home insemination will be subject to the particular rules on recognition for rainbow families, which could previously be applied only when using fertility clinics. Also, trans parents will be registered as parents in the proper gender, e.g., a trans man will be registered as a father, even if he gave birth to the child. In the Code of Judicial Procedure, paragraphs dealing with a “mother” are changed to be dealing with “the one who gave birth to the child,” i.e., getting rid of gendered terms.

Human rights defenders

More than 200 thousands people told the EU to stop bully lawsuits

On 1 February, the Coalition Against SLAPPs in Europe (CASE) and strategic lawsuits against public participation (SLAPP) victims, including LGBTI SLAPP victim Kamil Maczuga, met Věra Jourová, Vice-President for Values and Transparency in the European Commission, to hand-over 213,432 petition calling for a strong anti-SLAPP Directive. (Photo credit: Thomas Cytrynowicz)

Rule of law

CJEU confirms the legality of the EU’s rule of law conditionality

On 16 February, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruled on the cases that were brought before the court by Poland and Hungary in early 2021. CJEU ruled that the rule of law conditionality mechanism is in line with EU law and can be applied where Member States breach EU law in ways that affect or seriously risk affecting the sound financial management of the Union budget or the protection of the financial interests of the Union in a sufficiently direct way.
 

EU Ministers must act on the serious breach of EU’s rule of law and values in Poland

On 16 February, ILGA-Europe, along with 86 other NGOs, wrote a letter to EU Ministers to act decisively on Poland’s rule of law crisis, ahead of the General Affairs Council meeting on 22 February. The letter addresses the major rule of law concerns in Poland, including media freedom, civic space, SRHR and LGBTI rights. It outlines how systemic rule of law violations have enabled Poland to directly attack the human rights of LGBTI people and their defenders.

Notice board

Participate in the Rainbow Advocacy Program

RFSL, the Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex Rights, is accepting applications for their Rainbow Advocacy Program (RAP) which is a 13-month-long fellowship for LGBTIQ+ activists from Global South and East to affect change at home through UN advocacy. The first phase of the program will be between 3 and 16 September2022 in Geneva; the second phase will be between October 2022 and September 2023; and the third phase will be one week in July 2023, in New York.
Read more and apply before 15 March.
Check out the list of eligible countries.

Apply for the support and funding opportunity for LGBTIQ+ projects

BØWIE initiative has published a call for LGBTIQ+ projects as a part of the first incubator dedicated to queer and feminist entrepreneurial projects in Europe. The 6-month incubation programme brings the support you need to launch or grow your project: new skills, guidance, resources, visibility, funding opportunities, and a community. You can apply for the opportunity if you are an entrepreneur, an activist, or individual from Austria, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, or Ukraine.
Read more and apply before 22 April.

Apply for END FGM European Network’s Policy and Advocacy traineeship

The End FGM European Network is looking for a Policy and Advocacy trainee to assist in its implementation of the 2022 Work Plan and other EU level advocacy activities. The Network is based in Brussels and brings together 32 national organisations based in 15 European countries and working in the field of female genital mutilation (FGM) as a form of violence against women and girls. They will be accepting applications on a rolling basis, and will close the call as soon as they have found a candidate or on 20 March 2022 at the latest.