LGBTI equality and human rights in Europe and Central Asia

June 2021

Hungary’s censorship legislation, hate attacks in Kazakhstan and Ukraine, police violence at Istanbul Pride, and much more... 

 

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No. 309. June 2021. In this issue...

ILGA-Europe

Asylum

Bodily integrity

Decriminalisation

Equality and non-discrimination

Freedom of assembly

Freedom of association

Freedom of expression

Freedom of movement

Hate crime

Health

Legal gender recognition

Sexual and reproductive rights

Notice board

ILGA-Europe

Revolut partners with ILGA-Europe to raise funds for LGBTI equality

For the third consecutive year, fintech app Revolut have partnered with ILGA-Europe to raise awareness and funds in celebration of Pride. Order a limited edition rainbow card by making a donation to ILGA-Europe in the app, then share a creative photo with your card on Instagram or Twitter using hashtags #PayWithPride and #Revolut. Revolut will give one lucky winner with the best photo £5,000, which will be matched as a donation to ILGA-Europe.
Read more about the Revolut rainbow card.
See photo contest terms and conditions.
 

Highlights from the European Equality Gala 2021

On 22 June, the European Equality Gala 2021 Online brought together supporters of LGBTI equality to raise much needed funds for the movement and hear from special guests from the worlds of arts, media and activism, including bestselling Turkish author Elif Shafak, BBC LGBT correspondent Ben Hunte, and frontline activists from across the region. The Gala was co-hosted by drag legend LaDiva Live with ILGA-Europe’s Executive Director, Evelyne Paradis.
If you missed the inspiring evening or want to relive the best moments, watch the recording.

Asylum

The shocking truth about LGBTI asylum seekers living through COVID-19 in Europe

Across Europe, sexual and gender minorities can ask for international protection. However, the implementation of EU asylum directives varies greatly across the region. Furthermore, there are no official statistics on the number of asylum claims based on sexual orientation or gender identity, while only a few countries in the EU have specific national guidelines for interviewing LGBTI asylum seekers. The COVID-19 pandemic and the political responses to it have hit already beleaguered LGBTI asylum seekers in Europe particularly hard. We report on the alarming impact. (Photo credit: Kyle Glenn / Unsplash)

Bodily integrity

New infographic on FGM and LGBTI rights

The End FGM European Network (End FGM EU) and ILGA-Europe published a new infoghraphic to bring awareness to the people living at the intersection of FGM and LGBTI issues. Some LGBTI individuals are Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) survivors and face challenges based on both aspects of their identities.

Decriminalisation

MP proposes to ‘deport LGBT people out of Uzbekistan’

On 7 June, in an interview to Alter Ego Youtube channel, Member of the Uzbek Parliament Alisher Kadyrov, who represents the Milliy Tiklanish party (National Revival), repeated his idea that “LGBT people in Uzbekistan must be deprived of their citizenship, and must be deported out of the country”. MP Kadyrov had made a similar anti-LGBT proposal in the past, and also after an incident on 28 March, when a group of men attacked allegedly gay people in the centre of Tashkent. ILGA-Europe is aware of at least 51 cases of convictions against gay men under Article 120 of the Criminal Code of Uzbekistan, which penalises consensual same-sex relations between men. The recent draft of the Criminal Code released by Uzebkistan’s Prosecutor General’s Office under the ongoing criminal justice reform, retains the punishment for consensual same-sex relations between men.

Equality and non-discrimination

European Court fines Romania over inadequate protection against homophobic attacks

On 1 June, in the case of Association ACCEPT and Others v. Romania, Romania has been fined 60,000 euro by the European Court of Human Rights for violating human dignity and freedom of assembly during and after a homophobic attack by extreme right groups during the screening of an LGBTI film at the cinema of the Museum of the Romanian Peasant in Bucharest in 2013. The court concluded that the authorities did not respond adequately to protect the dignity of individual applicants against homophobic attacks, and failed to investigate in the aftermath, and in doing so showed their own prejudices against members of the LGBTI community.
 

Sex work in Europe: “We are still asking for the basic things: housing, work, and respect for our identities”

To mark International Sex Workers Day on 2 June, ILGA-Europe talked to Sabrina Sánchez, trans migrant sex worker based in Spain, on her journey, the pandemic and why sex workers rights are central to the LGBTI movement. While across Europe we start to return to a semblance of the old days, the issues sex workers were facing before 2020 are still present. In Spain, there are two draft bills that could affect sex work, by criminalising their working premises or conflating sex work with trafficking.

Freedom of assembly

Police violence and ill treatment against peaceful protestors at Istanbul Pride

Istanbul Pride was banned for the seventh year in a row. In protest, the march took place on 26 June, but participants were met with excessive police force and ill-treatment. Almost 50 people were arrested, including journalists, violating their right to freedom of assembly and expression. ILGA-Europe condemned the police violence and ill treatment against peaceful protestors at Istanbul Pride and are particularly concerned about the ban on filming police, which restricts journalism and enables police impunity. (Photo: Cihangir, Meydan Gazetesi via Kaosgl.org)

Freedom of association

Kyrgyz Parliament adopts a bill discriminating against NGOs

On 17 June, in a third and final reading the Parliament of Kyrgyzstan adopted a law subjecting non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to additional scrutiny on financial reporting. If signed by the President of Kyrgyzstan, the law would be discriminatory towards NGOs, contradicting basic democratic principles of regulating NGO activities. Civil society compares the bill to ‘the foreign agent law’ adopted in Russia several years ago and claims that it proposes to establish additional burdensome requirements only for a part of non-profit organisations. This is not the first attempt of the Kyrgyz Parliament to initiate a similar bill.

 


Freedom of expression

Hungarian parliament adopts legislation censoring communication about LGBTI people

On 15 June, the Hungarian Parliament adopted a number of amendments which directly discriminate against LGBTI people. The amendments were tabled by the ruling FIDESZ party and introduce a ban on the "portrayal and the promotion of gender identity different from sex at birth, the change of sex and homosexuality" for persons under 18. The amendments clearly breach a number of EU laws and violate international human rights norms. It is time for the EU to use all instruments available to hold its member state accountable for the respect of fundamental rights, including LGBTI rights, and for clear breaches of EU law, say ILGA-Europe.
 

ILGA-Europe will continue working with the institutions so that words can be translated into real action

In the light of increasing attacks on LGBTI rights, stagnation of legal progress and clear lack of implementation of the rights of LGBTI people in Europe, the European Commission has clearly signalled its willingness to hold Hungary accountable for its breach of EU law in flagrantly discriminating against LGBTI people and finally follow the call for action, including infringement procedures. Member states also need to follow through, calling out LGBTI rights violations across Europe, while restarting and seeing through the necessary legislative steps in their own countries. Words need to translate into action so that LGBTI people across the entire European Union can be both respected and protected as equal citizens. ILGA-Europe pledges to keep on working to support and inform the European institutions so that this can become a reality and the tide of backward sliding on LGBTI rights, dignity and equality in some EU countries can turn back in the right direction. (Photo credit: Claudio Centonze, European Commission)

Freedom of movement

Freedom of movement for same-sex spouses: The Coman Case, 3 years on

On 5 June 2018, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) issued a landmark judgement against Romania, recognising that the term spouse includes same-sex spouses under EU freedom of movement laws. Three years later, Clai Hamilton, spouse of Romanian citizen Adrian Coman, has not been granted residency yet. Now they’ve brought the case to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). On 24 June, ILGA-Europe hosted an online event commemorating three years since the judgment delivery with Adrian Coman and Clai Hamilton, Commissioner Helena Dalli, Sophie In t’Veld MEP, and ACCEPT Romania. (Photo: Rudolf Costin)

Hate crime

Feminist activists attacked in Kazakhstan

On 2 June, ILGA-Europe called upon the Government of Kazakhstan to take immediate action to objectively and transparently investigate the attacks on feminist activists: Zhanar Sekerbayeva and Gulzada Serzhan – co-founders of Feminita initiative group. Zhanar and Gulzada were attacked by nearly 30 men in Shymkent city in the south of Kazakhstan as they were trying to organise an event on women’s rights for a group of local women. A number of men came to the venue chanting religious calls and homophobic slurs. They beat Zhanar and attacked Gulzada, destroying her possessions. The police who were called for help, sided with the men instead of protecting the victims. They dragged Zhanar and Gulzada into a police car and took them to a police station where they were illegally detained for over eight hours. Their attackers were neither arrested nor detained. (Photo source: Zhanar Sekerbayeva)

‘The Ukrainian state must protect the LGBT+ communities!’

The LGBT+ community, feminists and other social groups in Ukraine are constantly facing attacks by conservative and ultra-right groups, attacks on educational events and intimidation of community activists and people. ILGA-Europe condemned the attacks on Insight NGO and LIGA, their staff and community members who come to these spaces to seek safety. We call for a timely and adequate investigation, sanctioning the perpetrators accordingly so as to end the attacks on the LGBT+ communities in Ukraine.

Health

New podcast about health equity for LGBTI people and marginalised groups

ILGA-Europe Senior Policy Officer, Cianán B. Russell joined the latest episode of the ‘Health In Europe’ podcast, hosted by the World Health Organisation Regional Office for Europe, discussing with other participants about the importance of health equity, particularly following the COVID-19 pandemic and presenting ILGA-Europe’s work on health equity for LGBTI people.
 

New report on HIV and mental health

The European AIDS Treatment Group (EATG) has launched a report on HIV and mental health, exploring the existing knowledge about the interplay of mental health, well-being and HIV and translating it into practical recommendations for both community organisations and healthcare professionals in the European context. A policy brief based on findings from the survey and reports from the consultations of stakeholders that are ongoing will be published this autumn.

 


Legal gender recognition

A number of Swedish hospitals end puberty blockers and gender affirming hormones to trans youth

The Karolinska Hospital in Sweden has ended the use of hormones (including puberty blockers) for minors. The hospital says it will resume care in the context of a clinical trial, but no such research project is yet planned. The Swedish Association for Transgender People's Health (SFTH) wrote an open letter to the to the Karolinska Hospital regarding its harmful decision which has been already replicated by three more healthcare units in the country. The SFTH calls on the hospital to revoke the policy change and provide hormonal treatment to children and adolescents with gender dysphoria.

Sexual and reproductive rights

EP passes historic resolution on sexual and reproductive health and rights

On 24 June, the European Parliament passed an historic resolution on sexual and reproductive health and rights, clarifying the rights of women, reconfirming abortion as a human right, and with strong inclusion of these rights for LGBTI people. ILGA-Europe enthusiastically welcome this resolution, applaud the EP’s firm commitment to LGBTI-inclusion and intersectionality, and look forward to coordinated efforts to ensure implementation and protection of the SRHR rights of LGBTI people.

Notice board

Equinox Initiative is calling for young, racialised people to join the Next Generation Leaders

The Equinox Initiative for Racial Justice is looking for young racial justice activists, professionals, and organisers to join its three-month training program, entitled the Next Generation Leaders, to empower young, racialised people to take up advocacy for meaningful change and become strong advocates for racial justice. Activities in the program will be centred around solidarity organising, capacity and skills development, and advocacy towards key stakeholders. The program will be launched at the end of July and will continue over the summer until October 2021.
Read more and apply by 5 July.

COC Netherlands is looking for an International Project Manager

COC Netherlands, the Dutch organisation for LGBTI persons, is looking for an International Project Manager Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia. The office of COC Netherlands is located in the centre of Amsterdam. Applicants are required to have a good command of Russian and English and understanding of the human rights situation of LGBTI in in the field, and need to have the legal right to remain and work in the Netherlands / EU.
Read more and apply by 7 July.

International francophone conference on LGBTI rights to take place online

Between 30 June and 2 July, ÉGIDES is hosting an online international conference entitled “Vivre l’égalité et les diversités dans la francophonie : culture, santé, sécurité” exploring human rights of LGBTQI people in the Francophone countries. ÉGIDES, based in Montreal, Canada, advocates for the rights and the development of LGBTQI organisations and communities located in international Francophone countries.

Two consultancies and one internship vacancy at ILGA World

ILGA World is seeking a consultant to participate in the fundraising team for the 2022 ILGA World Conference. You can submit your bid until Monday 5 July, 2021, 23:59 PM CEST. The organisation is also seeking a consultant to provide human resources services to the organisation. Deadline to submit your bid is Tuesday 6 July, 2021, 23:59 PM CEST. ILGA World also has a vacancy for an IT Support Intern, for which you can apply by Friday 9 July 2021 at 16:00 CEST.

Tell WorldPride what #YouAreIncluded means to you

The organising team of the WorldPride and EuroGames in Copenhagen and Malmö wants to know what this year’s theme #YouAreIncluded means to you, in your town or city, school or college, workplace, at home, or just walking down the street. Your answers will be placed on a huge online map to be published on 11 August, and broadcast on social media throughout the event between 12–22 August 2021. You can complete the form in different languages.

New directory of donors for civil society

Are you having a hard time identifying and connecting with donors and allies who can support your work? CIVICUS has created a Donor Finder for civil society groups, organisations, movements and individual activists around the world who face barriers to accessing information on relevant donors and funding opportunities.