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A guide to combat homophobia distributed to EU ambassadors

GayPride.jpg(BRUSSELS2) The PSC ambassadors, the ambassadors of the European Union and the heads of EU missions around the world have all received (or will all receive shortly) a short memo of around twenty pages alerting them ( and asking them to alert) in the event of violations of the fundamental rights of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people (LGBT).

This is to enable the EU  “to respond at an early stage to human rights violations committed against LGBT people and to address the structural causes that underlie them”, is it explained. “Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people are a vulnerable group and remain victims of blatant persecution, discrimination and mistreatment, often involving extreme forms of violence.. In many countries, sexual relations between consenting adults of the same sex are considered a crime punishable by imprisonment or the death penalty.

A grid for reading cases of violations

This document summarizes the main existing legal instruments – community and international –. It recalls the main areas of action of the EU in the world: decriminalization, equality and non-discrimination, support and protection of human rights defenders.

This document is accompanied by a very concrete reading grid, allowing violations to be assessed: are sexual relations between consenting people punishable by the death penalty? Are LGBT people the target of extrajudicial executions? Are they victims of torture by the police or security forces? Legal and effective protection against discrimination, right to public demonstrations (“gay pride”), freedom to publish newspapers or program radio-TV broadcasts? Age difference for heterosexual/homosexual sexual majority? Possibility for transgender people to change the indication of their sex in official documents, to benefit from all the rights of their new sex including that of getting married? Etc…

A constant watch

This document asks EU staffs and missions to use the elements of analysis to “monitor the situation of fundamental rights of LGBT people in the country concerned”. He recommends, among other things, that they: “identify individual cases of manifest violation of fundamental rights”, “detail the measures taken or planned to combat violations” (steps, raising the issue in a political dialogue, financing measures), “propose and make public representations and statements on (these) issues","attend hearings and clearly demonstrate support during legal proceedings","contact attorneys general or police authorities to request permission to visit LGBT people in detention","include information on the situation of LGBT people in various information documents and reports".

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).