Human rights in the world: focus on sexual orientation and gender identity

Today the European Parliament adopted its annual report on human rights in the world, and another on the EU’s strategic human rights priorities. Non-discrimination, including on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity, should remain a priority for the EU.

World flagsThese reports come two days after a high-level UN event promoted the human rights of LGBT people in the world.

In the Annual report on Human Rights and Democracy in the World 2011 and the European Union’s policy on the matter, the European Parliament says sexual orientation and gender identity must remain high on the list of EU foreign priorities.

Notably, the Parliament calls on the 78 countries that still criminalise lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex people to urgently modify their legislation, and stop all prosecutions.

The Parliament also calls on the Council to upgrade the LGBT Toolkit (which all EU diplomats should be using actively) into binding guidelines, which the Council will start to work on in January 2013.

Furthermore, MEPs also commended the High Representative of the EU Catherine Ashton, and Special Representative for Human Rights Stavros Lambrinidis for their outspoken support for non-discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Ulrike Lunacek MEP, Co-President of the LGBT Intergroup, commented: “This resolution is a deep, comprehensive overview into what the EU needs to keep doing abroad to safeguard LGBT people’s human rights. Yesterday we met the Special Representative for Human Rights, and I’m confident the EU will keep raising its voice at the UN, and together with its partners around the world, to uphold everyone’s human rights—especially where LGBT people’s rights are under threat.”

In another report adopted today on the EU’s human rights strategy, the Parliament underlines that non-discrimination on all grounds should constitute a priority for the EU abroad.

Ana Gomes MEP, member of the LGBT Intergroup and S&D Coordinator for foreign affairs, added: “The EU has a decisive role to play in the world. This is particularly true when it comes to protecting human rights defenders, working hand in hand with third countries to help them raise human rights standards—especially LGBT people’s rights. I’m convinced the High Representative for Human Rights will follow Parliament’s suggestions.”

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