European Parliament calls for coherence EU’s internal & external human rights policy

Last week, the European Parliament voted its annual report on human rights in the world. The report takes account of the situation of human rights, including of LGBTI people, and makes recommendations accordingly.

General view of MEPs in Plenary ChamberThe report starts off by stating that “in order to maintain credibility and consistency in its external human rights policy”, the EU and its Member States need to address internal human rights challenges, mentioning specifically continuing discrimination against LGBTI people (par. 4).

The EU’s foreign policy on LGBTI rights is guided by the EU Guidelines to Promote and Protect the Enjoyment of all Human Rights by LGBTI Persons. A list of actions to advance LGBTI equality inside the EU was unfolded last week, but has been criticized by the LGBTI Intergroup for falling short of a genuine strategy.

Regarding the EU’s accession policy, the Parliament urged to closely follow implementation of provisions on “the fight against all forms of discrimination, including hate crimes on the basis of sexual orientation” (par . 48).

The Parliament also condemned criminalization of LGBTI people and called for development aid to be channelled through civil society organisation, if the receiving country has a poor record on respect for human rights, including LGBTI rights (par. 93; par. 37).

Furthermore, the Parliament expressed its concern over the situation of LGBTI human rights defenders, and called on EU delegation in third countries to increase support for them (par. 93).

Lastly, the parliament emphasised that the “fundamental rights of LGBTI persons are more likely to be respected if they have access to legal institutions”, including registered partnership or marriage. (par. 93).

Fabio Massimo Castaldo MEP, Vice-President of the Intergroup on LGBTI Rights, reacted: “This report makes a strong call to be more consistent in our human rights obligations, internally and externally.”

“We cannot turn a blind eye to violations simply because they come from a country that we have good relations with, or because this country is in the EU. The adoption of this report by a wide majority sends a clear message from MEPs to step up efforts to consistently defend and promote human rights of LGBTI people.”

Tanja Fajon MEP, Vice-President of the Intergroup on LGBTI Rights, added: “As Commissioner Stylianides said in the debate about the report: we need more equality and more human rights, not less.

“The EU has a key role to play in promoting and protecting human rights, and this report shows our commitment to making this a reality.”

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Photo credit: © European Union 2015 – European Parliament