First EP resolution on LGBTI rights of the 9th legislature
On 18 December, the European Parliament adopted its first text dedicated to LGBTI rights: a resolution on public discrimination and hate speech against LGBTI people.
It is simply unacceptable to see “LGBTI-free zones” spread in an EU country. Adopting resolutions that discriminate against LGBTI people and their families will not make them disappear. They will marginalise further a population that is already vulnerable to discrimination and violence. This goes against all international and EU human rights law.Malin Björk, Vice-president of the LGBTI Intergroup
The resolution takes stock of the current worrying trends observed throughout the EU, such as “attacks on LGBTI social centres in several Member States, homophobic statements and hate speech targeting LGBTI people, in particular in the context of elections ; or legal instruments which might be applied to restrict media, education and other content in a manner that unduly restricts freedom of expression regarding LGBTI issues”.
The text denounces in particular on LGBTI-free zones in Poland: since the beginning of 2019, over 80 regions, counties or municipalities have passed resolutions declaring themselves free from so-called “LGBT ideology”, or have adopted “Regional Charters of Family Rights” discriminating against single-parent and LGBTI families.
In a democratic country there should no place for discrimination. LGBTIphobic declarations passed by local governments in Poland mostly affect young LGBTI people when already 60% of them have suicidal thoughts.
We believe this resolution will help to end the stigma on LGBTI people and make Poland a safer place for everyone.Kamil Maczuga (Lewica Razem, Polish Left Party) and Jakub Gawron (organiser of Rzeszow Equality March and co-author of the research on LGBTI-free zones). Both spoke at a press conference organised by the LGBTI Intergroup ahead of the debate on the resolution.
The European Parliaments strongly condemns such measures and calls on the Commission to do the same. It also calls on Poland to “revoke resolutions attacking LGBTI rights, including local bills against “LGBT ideology” in accordance with its national law; as well as its obligations under EU and international law”. It also invites the Committee of Regions, “as a representative of local and regional EU authorities to consider taking actions in the remit of its competences, on the development of zones free from so-called “LGBT ideology” in Poland”.
With this first resolution on LGBTI rights, the EP sets the tone for the new mandate, by making its expectations from other institutions and Member States clear: to respect fundamental rights and fight against discrimination against LGBTI people, as enshrined in the Treaties and the Charter of Fundamental Rights.
It is about time EU institutions step up in their action against discrimination against LGBTI people, be it through awareness-raising campaigns, sharing of good practices, funding of LGBTI organisations or through article 7 procedure in cases of a “clear risk of serious breach” of EU values as is used now for Hungary and Poland.Terry Reintke, co-chair of the LGBTI Intergroup
In the resolution, the European Parliament highlights a number of areas where action by the EU and Member States is needed, such as:
- iscrimination against LGBTI people in general, freedom of movement for all families, including LGBTI families, homophobia in sports, bullying in education settings and the need for sex education.
- training programmes for law enforcement and judicial authorities, for preventing and tackling discriminatory practices and hate crime and tools to report them;
- a definition of consistent equality data collection principles, based on self-identification,
- reminding stakeholders of their commitment to non-discrimination and that EU funds can be used for discriminatory purposes under no circumstances
- the adoption an EU LGBTI strategy, ensuring continuity and a strong follow-up of the work of the previous Commission with the List of Actions to advance LGBTI equality
- the revision the EU framework decision on combating certain forms and expressions of racism and xenophobia by means of criminal law currently in force, in order to include incitement to hatred on grounds of gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and sex characteristics
- the unblocking of the Horizontal Directive on discrimination
- monitoring of hate speech, including by public authorities, elected officials and inside EU institutions, or online, and enable reporting and sanctions against it