LGBTI equality and human rights in Europe and Central Asia

January 2016

No. 245. January 2016. In this issue...



Bias motivated violence


Equality and non-discrimination


Freedom of assembly

Legal gender recognition

Notice board



20th Anniversary: Happy birthday ILGA-Europe

In 1996, ILGA-Europe was born. This year we are celebrating our 20th Anniversary. Throughout the year we will bring you some highlights from the last 20 years. We can’t wait to share memorable moments with the readers of Rainbow Digest! 

Call for relevant literature: Attitudes, opinions, beliefs about LGBTI equality in Europe

In September this year, ILGA-Europe and PIRC (Public Interest Research Centre) started a new project, Reframing LGBTI Equality in Europe.  We want to understand how people in Europe think about LGBTI equality and to adjust our communication accordingly to increase support and mobilisation. Help us by sending surveys, resources, name it - from all over Europe.

Statement on International Holocaust Remembrance Day 2016

On 27 January, we commemorated the International Holocaust Remembrance Day. The day is to remember the lives of the Holocaust victims who were marginalised and persecuted by the Nazi regime. Evelyne Paradis, our Executive Director, made the following statement: 

Screening of Intersexion by United Nations in Brussels

On 21 January, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Office organised a screening of ‘Intersexion’ in Brussels. ILGA-Europe was together with OII Europe invited to speak about issues related to intersex people afterwards.  
Read more about the event here



Submission in asylum case at European court

On 15 January, ILGA-Europe submitted written comments on an asylum case, M.B. v Spain, to the European Court of Human Rights together with FIDH (Fédération Internationale des ligues des Droits de l'Homme), APDHE (Asociación Pro Derechos Humanos de España), ECSOL (European Commission on Sexual Orientation Law), and UKLGIG (United Kingdom Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group). The case concerns a Cameroonian asylum seeker threatened with expulsion from Spain to Cameroon. The intervention addresses the risk faced by LGBTI asylum-seekers if returned to their country of origin in violation of Article 2 (Right to Life) or 3 (Prohibition of Torture) of the European Convention.
Find the submission here

Bias motivated violence


Second hearing in case about sexual and physical assault incident in Ankara

On 26 January, the second hearing of Kemal Ördek, who became a victim of sexual and physical assault, robbery, insults, threats, was held today at Ankara 1st High Criminal Court. Kemal needs your support. Public attention and support from abroad are very crucial in influencing the court team in deciding that the perpetrators must get the required sentences. ILGA-Europe continues to support our friend Kemalita and follows this case closely. 
Watch video produced by the Red Umbrella Sexual Health and Human Rights Association about the case here



European Parliament: promote EU fundamental values through education

On 19 January, a great majority (554 for, 147 against) in the European Parliament voted in favour of a report on the role of intercultural dialogue, cultural diversity and education in promoting EU fundamental values.
Read more about the report here

School in Iceland goes gender neutral

An Icelandic elementary school has removed gender signs from its bathrooms in an effort to become gender neutral. The removal of gender signs is just one of many initiatives which according to principal of the school these steps were taken by school officials, in an effort to make it “a gender-neutral school”. And the reaction, she adds, has been wonderful.
Read more about the initiatives here
More about Iceland on

Equality and non-discrimination


Slovak government fails to adopt a LGBTI National Action Plan

On 13 January, the Slovak government abandoned its plan to adopt a National Action Plan on LGBTI Equality. The government stated it should be a matter for the next government. LGBTI activists in Slovakia and ILGA-Europe are particularly concerned since the Slovak government went in great lengths in preparation for such step and in 2015 invited representatives of the Council of Europe and other European countries to discuss best practices with a view to introduce such Plan in the country.
Read ILGA-Europe’s reaction here
More about Slovakia on

UN Committee on the Rights of the Child considers reports on France and Ireland

In January, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child concluded on its consideration of the fifth periodic report on France and Ireland. The Committee asked a question to the French Minister of State for the Family, Elderly People and Adult Care of France, Laurence Rossignol, about the treatment of intersex children in France and mental health of young LGBT people. Read the answers from the Minister here. On Ireland, the Committee was questioning the treatment of intersex children, to what the Irish delegation did not provide any convincing answers on. Read here what was asked to the Irish delegation.
More about France and Ireland on

To the top



Greece becomes 26th European country to recognise same-sex partnerships

On 22 December, Greek parliamentarians approved a new civil partnership bill which will legally recognise same-sex couples for the first time. ILGA-Europe send their congratulations to all the LGBTI organisations and politicians who have contributed to this historic result. Among 249 present parliamentarians, 194 voted for and 55 voted against this law.
Read more about the new civil partnership law here
More about Greece on

Slovenian referendum rejects marriage equality

In December, voters of a referendum in Slovenia rejected a law to open marriage to same-sex couples with 37% in favour of the amendment, 63% voted against it. The amendment to the Marriage and Family Relations Act will not now come into force. ILGA-Europe stands in solidarity with all the civil society groups and LGBTI activists who were part of the progressive “Čas Je Za” campaign.
Read ILGA-Europe’s reaction here
More about Slovenia on

The journey towards civil unions for same-sex couples in Italy

On 28 January, the Italian Senate started discussing a bill on civil unions for same-sex and different-sex couples and second parent adoption for same-sex couples. But discussion in the Senate is only part of the story. Even if the senators agree and eventually vote in favour, we still need to be patient. Many more steps need to be taken before we can open the prosecco bottles!
Here is a very short, simplified overview of the legislative journey that needs to be navigated
See more about Italy on

Irish family law enforced

On 18 January, key sections of the Children and Family Relationships Act 2015 were commenced in Ireland. The new act will make it possible for step-parents, civil partners and cohabiting partners to apply to become guardians of a child or for custody.
Read more about the law here
More about Ireland on

Portugal's outgoing president vetoes adoption bill

In December, the Portuguese parliament adopted a bill which opens joint adoption to same-sex couples. However the now outgoing conservative Portuguese President Anibal Cavaco Silva vetoed on 25 January the bill in one of his last political moves before newly-elected Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa takes the office.  The bill must go back to the parliament for another vote.
Read more about the veto here
More about Portugal on

Conference: Same-sex Relationships and Beyond: Gender Matters in the EU

On 18-19 April, the Academy of European Law (ERA) is organising a conference which will explore the challenges and controversies concerning the recognition of LGBT relationships throughout the EU through the lens of EU legislation, the case law of the European courts and recent national developments.
Read more about the conference here

To the top

Freedom of assembly


Most comprehensive European Pride Event calendar on

Pride season 2016 will kick off soon! ILGA-Europe hosts a calendar which includes over 190 Pride Events in 2016 from every corner of Europe. It makes it the most comprehensive European Pride Event calendar. Check it out here (...and do let us know if we are missing out on a Pride Event near you. Drop a line to Nanna Moe, Senior Communications Officer)

Queer festival to take place in Belarus despite repressive environment

Belarusian lawmakers are preparing for the second reading the draft legislation on ‘propaganda’, which follows suit the Russian law banning ‘propaganda of non-traditional relations among minors.’ Freedom of assembly, association, and expression are routinely violated. Despite the risks and limitations, Belarusian activist communities create vibrant and safe spaces to bring to light diversity and address injustice. On 19 February, activists of DOTYK will launch their Queer Film Festival, which will bring a series of screenings, discussions, and other special events. Read more about this unique and extremely important initiative on their website, or on the festival’s Belarusian Facebook page.

To the top

Legal gender recognition


Parliament report demands Trans Equality from Cameron

The UK House of Commons Women and Equality Committee published a comprehensive report on Trans Equality. The report calls on the UK Government to draw up a new strategy for Transgender Equality, and to update the Gender Recognition Act, so that it no longer pathologises trans identities.
Read more about the report on the website of Transgender Europe
More about United Kingdom on

Notice board


Job opportunity with Amnesty International as Programme Director

The international secretariat of Amnesty International in London, UK, is looking for a Programmes Director in their Gender, Sexuality and Identity Department. Deadline for applications: 7 February.
Read more about the job opportunity here

Job opportunity with Open Society Foundations’ Women’s Rights Program as Programme Officer

The Open Society Foundations’ Women’s Rights Program seeks a full-time Program Officer to focus on its efforts related to strengthening women’s rights organisations and movements.  The position will be based in the New York office. Deadline for applications: 12 February.
Read more about the job opportunity here

Job opportunity with The Red Umbrella Fund Programme Associate

The Red Umbrella Fund is looking for a Programme Associate. This position is 32-36 hrs per week and based in Amsterdam. The Red Umbrella Fund is an innovative global grantmaking mechanism for and by sex workers. Deadline for applications: 31 January.
Read more about the job opportunity here


Mark your calendar: 6th European Transgender Council

Transgender Europe is organising 6th European Transgender Council in Bologna, Italy, 2-5 June 2016. Now you can submit your scholarship application, workshop proposals, and your candidature if you want to work as part of the Steering Committee or as Co-Chairs of Transgender Europe for the period of two years.
Read more about the Council here

Call for Applications: Summer School in Human Rights Litigation

The Open Society Justice Initiative and Central European University invite applicants for the 2016 Summer School in Human Rights Litigation, to be held in Budapest from 11-15 July. Deadline for applications: 14 February.
Read more about the Summer School here

Survey on the ILGA-Europe Rainbow Europe map/index

A group of academic scholars from Sciences Po Law School in Paris is looking into how the Rainbow Europe map/index is used and for what purpose. It further aims analyse its strengths and weaknesses for activists working on the ground.
Find the short survey here