Plenary summary: Gender-Based Violence as a new area of crime, LGBTIQ rights in the EU, EU-Russia relations, Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya, Media and Rule of Law in Poland, situation in Afghanistan
During its September I plenary session, the European Parliament Plenary debated and voted on several files that relate to the human rights of LGBTI persons:
- Resolution on LGBTIQ rights in the EU – Petitions Committee (PETI)
- Legislative resolution on identifying gender-based violence as a new area of crime listed in Article 83(1) TFEU – Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) and Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM) Committees
- Resolution on media freedom and further deterioration of the rule of law in Poland – Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee (LIBE)
- Resolution on the situation in Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya – Foreign Affairs Committee (AFET)
- Recommendation on the direction of EU-Russia political relations – Foreign Affairs Committee (AFET)
- Resolution on the situation in Afghanistan – Foreign Affairs Committee (AFET)
- (Note: For a complete list of all texts (and specific paragraphs) in this legislature touching upon LGBTI issues, check our List of resources available here.)
On Monday, Members of the European Parliament adopted the resolution on LGBTIQ rights in the EU – Petitions Committee (PETI). There was no debate scheduled.
The text of the resolution calls on several actions by the European Commission concerning the adopted law, including:
- Expresses its deepest concern regarding the discrimination suffered by rainbow families and their children in the EU and the fact that they are deprived of their rights on grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity, or sex characteristics of the parents or partners; calls on the Commission and the Member States to overcome this discrimination and to remove the obstacles they face when exercising the fundamental right to freedom of movement within the EU; (¶2)
- Insists that the EU needs to take a common approach to the recognition of same-sex marriages and partnerships; calls on the Member States specifically to introduce relevant legislation to ensure full respect for the right to private and family life without discrimination and free movement of all families, including measures to facilitate the recognition of the legal gender of transgender parents; (¶4)
- Recalls that EU law prevails over any type of national law, including over conflicting constitutional provisions, and that therefore, Member States cannot, invoke any constitutional ban on same-sex marriage or constitutional protection of ‘morals’ or ‘public policy’ in order to obstruct the fundamental right to free movement of persons within the EU in violation of the rights of rainbow families that move to their territory; (¶5)
Legislative resolution on identifying gender-based violence as a new area of crime listed in Article 83(1) TFEU
On Wednesday, Members of the European Parliament debated the Legislative resolution on identifying gender-based violence as a new area of crime listed in Article 83(1) TFEU (rapportrices: Malin Björk, Left and Diana Riba i Giner, G-EFA). The text was adopted on Thursday.
The text of the report includes strong language on LGBTI persons, namely states the following:
- Condemns all forms of violence against women and girls in all their diversity and other forms of gender-based violence, such as violence against LGBTIQ+ persons on the grounds of gender, gender identity, gender expression or sex characteristics, which is considered to refer to different acts of online and offline violence that result in, or are likely to result in, physical, sexual, psychological or economic harm or suffering; (¶1)
- Stresses that violence against women and other forms of gender-based violence are still shrouded in silence and are the result of the continuous manifestation of historically unequal access to and distribution of power and resources, which have led to domination over and discrimination against women by men, as well as violence directed towards LGBTIQ+ persons, with a huge impact on victims, their families and communities; (¶5)
- Stresses that the attack against women’s rights and gender equality is often one dimension of a broader deterioration in the situation of democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights, and therefore calls on the Commission and on the Council to consider women’s and LGBTIQ+ rights violations in the context of ongoing Article 7 TEU proceedings; (¶21)
- Calls on the Member States and the Commission within their work to combat gender- based violence to ensure that all legislative and non-legislative initiatives aim to eradicate all forms of gender-based violence, specifically including women in all their diversity and violence against LGBTIQ+ persons on the grounds of gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics; recalls that Parliament has previously strongly encouraged Member States to adopt laws and policies banning conversion therapy, female and intersex genital mutilations and forced sterilisation practices; (¶28)
On Thrusday Members of the European Parliament debated the resolution on Media freedom and further deterioration of the rule of law in Poland. The text was adopted on Thursday.
The text of the report mentions the following:
- Welcomes the steps taken by the Commission related to the declaration of some ‘LGBT-ideology free zones’ by some local and regional authorities in Poland and their incompatibility with EU values and the importance of non-discrimination in the implementation of European Structural and Investment Funds; calls on the Commission to use all legal grounds in the infringement procedures; calls on the state, local and regional authorities of Member States to halt all cooperation with the Polish authorities declaring ‘LGBT-ideology free zones’; calls on the Commission to continue rejecting EU funding applications by authorities who have adopted such resolutions and to consider ways of ensuring the protection of the final beneficiaries and the continuity of their work, including by considering alternatives to regional managing authorities such as direct granting to civil society organisations that are dependent on EU funding to operate; (¶27)
- Strongly condemns the fact that SLAPPs are also being used against activists who are acting against and informing the public about the resolutions on being free from so-called LGBTI ideology and the ‘Regional Charters of Family Rights’; (¶28)
On Tuesday, Members of the European Parliament debated the resolution on the direction of EU-Russia political relations (rapporteur: Andrius Kubilius, EPP). The text was adopted on Wednesday.
The text of the report states the following:
- […] in parallel, the EU should implement its commitment to gender mainstreaming in all external action and must support fundamental human rights, including by fighting gender-based violence, racism, xenophobia, hate crimes, police brutality and other forms of discrimination and by championing gender equality, women’s rights, LGBTI+ rights and minority rights in Russia; the EU should, wherever possible, help oppressed residents in Russia, especially those who face discrimination on the basis of age, religion, race, ethnicity, linguistic or social group, sexual orientation, gender expression, gender identity, sex characteristics, or on any other grounds; […]; the EU should further condemn the persecution, arbitrary detention and torture of LGBTI+ persons in many parts of the Russian Federation, stress the continued need for investigations and call for the immediate release of all prisoners in such situations, in particular in Chechnya; (ao)
On Friday, Members of the European Parliament debated and voted the resolution on the situation in Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya.
The text of the report includes the following:
- Recalls that in the European Union, persecution on the basis of sexual orientation is considered a criterion for asylum application and for granting asylum; calls for the EU and its Member States to adhere to this principle; calls for the EU, notably the EU Delegations and the EU Special Representative on Human Rights, to effectively make full use of the LGBTI Toolkit and its accompanying guidelines in their dialogue with all African nations that still criminalise homosexuality and, more generally, in their dialogue with all countries in which the persecution of or violence against LGBTIQ+ people is widespread; (¶15)
- Insists that the EU Delegation in Kenya continue to monitor the situation of vulnerable people, more specifically LGBTIQ+ people and Black African women closely and to actively support civil society organisations, human rights defenders and LGBTIQ+ people on the ground; (¶16)
- Urges the EU to keep up its efforts to convince both the Kenyan Government and the African Union to reconsider their approach on LGBTIQ+, noting that their stance may in one way or another be placing LGBTIQ+ persons at risk of inhuman and degrading treatment that runs counter to the values of equality and equal protection enshrined in law; (¶17)
On Tuesday, Members of the European Parliament debated the resolution on the situation in Afghanistan. The text was adopted on Thursday.
The text of the report states the following:
- Is appalled by reported violations including executions of civilians and members of the Afghan national security forces, recruitment of child soldiers, repression of peaceful protest and expressions of dissent and restrictions of human rights especially targeting women and girls, human rights defenders, LGBTI+ people, religious and ethnic minorities, journalists, writers, academics and artists; urges the Taliban to end these practices immediately and to safeguard, in particular, Afghan women’s rights to education, work, sport, free movement, assembly and association, inter alia; (¶9)
- Calls on the EU and its Member States to work together to facilitate the further evacuation of EU citizens and Afghans at risk, notably through the use of available safe corridors; recalls that the EU expects the Taliban to facilitate this; reiterates the need to focus in this regard on groups of women that are at particular risk, including all women and girls, human rights defenders, LGBTI+ people, religious and ethnic minorities, journalists, writers, academics, local staff and artists, among others; (¶12)