LGBTI equality and human rights in Europe and Central Asia

March 2019

Job opportunities, no hate in the European elections, 8 March rally in Bishkek, and much more…

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No. 282. March 2019. In this issue...





Equality and non-discrimination


Freedom of assembly

Freedom of movement

Notice board



Join our team: two open positions

ILGA-Europe are currently recruiting for two roles in our staff team in Brussels. You can apply for the position Events and Finance Support Officer until 3 April 2019, 10.00 CET and for the position Advocacy Officer until 8 April 2019, 17.00 CET. For both of the positions, bear in mind that only filled in application packs will be considered eligible.
Read more and apply for the position Events and Finance Support Officer by 3 April.
Read more and apply for the position Advocacy Officer by 8 April.

Report of the workshop “Responding to the anti-gender movement”

From 31 January to 2 February 2019, ILGA-Europe hosted the workshop “Responding to the anti-gender movement: The rhetoric of the opposition, our movement’s capacities and ways to build our narratives” in Brussels. A report of the workshop has just been finalised. In its 50 pages, it gives a quite detailed account of presentations, activities and conversations participants had during the workshop as well as a list of lessons learned that emerged from the discussions. Stay tuned for the date of a webinar where we will present the main results of the workshop.
If you wish to receive the report you can contact ILGA-Europe’s Senior Campaign and Programme Laura Piazza.
Read more about ILGA-Europe’s work on strategic communications.

How to make a difference

“Sometimes I wish I can do more for my queer brothers and sisters across the seas, then I remembered I can!” Robert Von Repta Caro runs Bro. Bear Blog, blogging about his queer Romanian-American life and faith. For his birthday this month he asked friends to donate to the European LGBTI movement, raising almost $500 for ILGA-Europe.
Join Robert and start your own personalised fundraiser in just three simple clicks. 

ILGA World Conference took place in New Zealand

Some of the ILGA-Europe staff and board members attended the ILGA World Conference that took place in Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand, from 18-22 March. The Conference brought together hundreds of LGBTI activists and allies from six different regions of ILGA to shape the future of the organisation and connect with LGBTI movement from all over the world. ILGA World celebrated their 40th anniversary during the Conference.
Read more about the conference.



Register for the series of webinars on European Elections

In April, ILGA-Europe will host three webinars to support the LGBTI movement work around the European Parliament elections in May this year. Save the dates and don’t miss the following three appointments: ‘Advocacy, alliances and agenda setting for LGBTI rights: Tools and best practices for election campaigning’ will take place on 5 April 2019 from 11.00 to 12.30 CEST. You will hear from activists with experience on advocacy, communication and mobilisation around elections. ‘Tools, videos, creative ideas to give visibility to LGBTI issues around elections’ will be on 23 April from 12.30 to 14.00 CEST and ‘How to mobilise the LGBTI communities around elections’ will be on 30 April from 12.30 to 14.00 CEST. Your registration is needed!
Read more about the webinars.
Register for the webinar on advocacy strategies that will take place on 5 April.

ComeOut Pledge has reached over 100 signatures

ILGA-Europe have well over 100 signatories across 15 member states for our ComeOut Pledge, 99 of which have been approved so far by our member organisations! The pledge asks EU candidates to commit to protecting, supporting and advancing progress on human rights and LGBTI equality. We are also united with 25 civil society organisations and unions via NoHate, our collaborative appeal asking that candidates, the media and those in the public eye carry out campaigning free from hate speech, divisive rhetoric and intolerance.
Follow the hashtags #ComeOut4EU and #ElectNoHate on social media.
See our interactive webpage for the signatories of the Come Out Pledge.

LGBTI communities attitudes toward EP elections: results of the survey

ILGA-Europe consulted their membership through a survey on the LGBTI communities attitudes toward EU elections, in order to understand more about our communities’ concerns and hopes around the EU and the barriers that would prevent people from casting their vote in May. One of the key objectives of the ComeOut campaign is to mobilise ILGA-Europe members and, through them, the LGBTI community and their allies to make they consider voting in this important election and sure they take an informed decision on who to vote based on the adhesion to the pledge.
See the results of the survey.

ILGA-Europe unites with 25 other CSOs and unions for EU election campaign free from intolerance

On 11 March, ILGA-Europe and 25 other civil society organisations and unions launched #ElectNoHate, our joint call for EU elections campaigning free from hate speech and divisive rhetoric, which legitimise hateful actions and pose a threat to human rights. MEP candidates, politicians, the media and those in the public eye are asked not only to avoid engaging in, or amplifying, rhetoric that may incite discrimination, prejudice or hatred on any grounds, but also to actively counter it.
Read more about the #ElectNoHate appeal.



The Council of Europe’s anti-torture Committee urges effective investigations in North Caucasus

Joint statement from 30 countries at the UN Human Rights Council


Video: Rachael talks about racism and homonationalism among politicians

On 21 March, Rachael Moore, the coordinator of Rainbow House Brussels, sent out a special video message for the International Day of Elimination of Racial Discrimination. In the video, she talks about her own story of activism and the upcoming European Parliament Elections and calls out activists to hold politicians accountable in their positions. “I surely don’t trust any politician that doesn’t hold an intersectional and decolonial view. For me, these two go together” said-she.

Blog post: Mazen Masoud's #FightRacism in Italy

Mazen Masoud wrote a blog post on our website for 21 March. He is a human rights activist from Libya who now lives in Italy as a refugee. He is an intersex, trans, black person fighting racism in his everyday life but also activism. He is involved in Il Grande Colibrì, the activism project for the people of colour in Italy and also works for Movimento Identita’ Trans (MIT) that provides various services to trans people. “I believe there are always people who fight for human rights until their last breath and together we will never leave our world in the hands of racists and fascists” he says in his blog post.

LGBTIQ Gypsy, Roma & Traveller Conference to be organised in Wales this summer

The Romani Cultural&Arts Company (RCAC) is organising a conference entitled ‘the LGBTIQ Gypsy, Roma & Traveller (GRT) Conference’ on 4 July 2019 in Wales. The event, hosted by National Assembly for Wales, will feature Dr Daniel Baker (England) and Christine Lee (Wales) plus guests including Vera Kurtic (Council of Europe/Serbia) and Dezso Mate (Hungary). This varied range of speakers with their diverse areas of expertise will open up debate regarding LGBTIQ issues as they relate to GRT individuals and communities.

Equality and non-discrimination

UN Recommendations for Kazakhstan to prevent discrimination against LGBTI people

On 8 March, within Kazakhstan’s second periodic report on compliance with the International Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), the Kazakh authorities received a recommendation to take all the necessary steps to prevent and combat discrimination against LGBT persons. This recommendation comes weeks later after Kazakhstan had also been requested to clarify whether the words “any other circumstances” in Article 14 of the Constitution can be interpreted as prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity among others within the review of Kazakhstan’s status on the implementation of the Convention on Eliminating all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).
Read more about the resolution.

European Parliament adopted a resolution on human rights in Kazakhstan

On 14 March, European Parliament adopted a resolution pertaining to human rights in Kazakhstan with two LGBTI specific recommendations included. Resolutions adopted by the European Parliament on human rights can be regarded as a contour of cooperation between EU and respective third countries for which the human rights resolutions are adopted. The European Parliament specifically recommended to ensure equal rights for same-sex couples and that the Kazakh Government shall adopt measures eliminating discrimination of LGBTI people.

Uzbekistan “should decriminalise consensual sexual relations between persons of the same sex”

On March 26, the European Parliament adopted a report on the new comprehensive agreement between the EU and Uzbekistan, which has been negotiated for over a year now. The report contains specific recommendations to the European Commission negotiation team pertaining to “decriminalising consensual sexual relations between persons of the same sex and foster a culture of tolerance for LGBTI people in Uzbekistan”.


Court in Finland: Refusal to provide fertility treatment to same-sex couples discriminatory

On 6 March, the Helsinki Administrative Court has ruled that a senior physician’s directive to provide fertility treatments only to different-sex couples discriminates against same-sex female couples. In May 2015, a medical director gave an order that public services could only be used to treat infertility resulting from medical conditions. According to the edict, there is no medical reason for providing fertility treatment to female couples and same-sex couples were therefore excluded from care for infertility. In a new ruling, the Helsinki Administrative Court upheld the tribunal’s view and called called on the doctors to put an end to the discriminatory practice.

LGBTI activists met in Montenegro to discuss partnership laws

On 12-13 March, ILGA-Europe organised a two-day meeting in Montenegro with our member organisations and other activists from the Western Balkan countries to strategise about partnership legislations. Our Advocacy Director Katrin Hugendubel and Senior Litigation Officer Arpi Avetisyan discussed advocacy and litigation strategies with the participants. None of the countries in the Western Balkans recognise legally same-sex unions in any form yet. However there is a draft bill of civil partnership at the national Parliament in Montenegro.


Freedom of assembly

Women and LGBTI groups in Bishkek marched together for 8 March

Just two days before the International Women’s Day, the authorities in Kyrgyzstan attempted to stop the Women’s March, traditionally organized on 8 March. However, after brief legal debates, the march was allowed to take place. The Women’s March has been led by Bishkek Feminists Initiative for the last five years and has always included LGBTI groups. This time though, much of the public attention was drawn to slogans and banners pertaining to the rights of LBTI women, resonating public debates over LGBTI rights in Kyrgyzstan. Number of public figures, including Members of the Kyrgyz Parliament and religious organizations, has condemned the march for “propagating” the LGBTI agenda.


Freedom of movement

Together we can make the Coman judgment a reality: the freedom of movement of same-sex couples across the EU

Arpi Avetisyan, Senior Litigation Officer and Juliana Teoh, Advocacy Officer at ILGA-Europe wrote a blog post to discuss the Coman judgment and its impact on the lives of same-sex couples and their families in the European Union Member States: “All Member States are now obliged to treat the same-sex spouse of an EU citizen just as they would a different-sex spouse – irrespective of whether or not the Member State provides in its own laws possibilities for same-sex marriage or civil partnership.”


Notice board

HRW’s two new resources on global situation of LGBT rights

Human Rights Watch published two new online resources this month: the maps of anti-LGBT laws in the world and the country profiles on sexual orientation and gender identity. The first resource #Outlawed shows the countries that outlaw same-sex relations between consenting adults and criminalize forms of gender expression. . It includes a series of interactive maps, as well as links to countries’ penal codes. The second resource is the 3rd edition of their SOGI Country Profiles, based in part on reporting from HRW’s Annual World Report. It includes brief profiles of 112 countries this year.
See #Outlawed mapping anti-LGBT laws worldwide.
Visit the SOGI country profiles.

Summer Course: ‘Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity: a Human Rights Perspective’

During the summer of 2019, Dr. Johan Lievens (VU Amsterdam) and Drs. Nele Verbrugghe (KU Leuven) will be teaching a summer course on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity: a Human Rights Perspective at Radboud University Nijmegen (the Netherlands) between 5 and 9 August 2019. The summer school course aims to create insight into human rights law as it applies to sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics (SOGIESC) issues.
Read more and apply for the summer course by 1 June. are hiring for two positions

The Secretariat of is looking for a Finance officer and an Administration officer. is the European Union Human Rights Defenders mechanism, established to protect defenders at high risk and facing the most difficult situations worldwide. Don’t forget to submit your application by 3 April 2019.
More information on the two vacancies.