Plenary summary: impact of COVID-19 on youth and sport, in-work poverty, association agreement with Ukraine, challenges for women’s rights and resolutions on Uganda, Kazakhstan and Yemen

During its February I plenary session, the European Parliament Plenary debated and voted on several files that relate to the human rights of LGBTI persons: 

Report on reducing inequalities with a special focus on in-work poverty

On Tuesday, Members of the European Parliament adopted the report on reducing inequalities with a special focus on in-work poverty (Rapporteur: Özlem DEMIREL, The Left).

The report states:

  • Notes that, although poverty rates among women vary considerably from one Member State to another, the risk of poverty and social exclusion in the risk groups to which older women, single women, women with children and single mothers, refugee and migrant women, women of colour, women from ethnic minorities, homosexual, bisexual and transgender women and women with disabilities belong is high, the average trend being that women are more at risk of poverty and social exclusion than men (22,8 % in 2018 in the EU); notes that other intersectional risk factors such as inactivity, lack of care services for children and dependant family members make some specific categories of women more vulnerable to poverty risks than others; (¶4)
  • Stresses the need to ensure compliance with the rules on equality, to tackle all forms of discrimination, with particular regard to wages and working conditions, to provide equal opportunities and to close gaps in the legislation that affect disadvantaged groups; calls, in addition, for the unblocking of the horizontal Anti-Discrimination Directive; (¶56)

Watch the plenary interventions here.

Consult the results of the roll-call final vote here (page 395-396) (final votes (684): +365, -118, o208)

Resolution on the impact of COVID-19 on youth and on sport

On Wednesday, the Plenary adopted the resolution on the impact of COVID-19 on youth and on sport(Rapporteure: Sabine Verheyen, EPP).

The resolution:

  • Calls for a rights-based approach, rooted in the principles of non-discrimination and equality, to be taken to the various policies in order to tackle the multiple forms of discrimination suffered by young people during the COVID-19 crisis, and reminds the Commission and the Member States of the need for a special approach to supporting and protecting vulnerable groups, such as young people with disabilities, young people from disadvantaged backgrounds and at risk of domestic violence, young migrants and refugees, and young members of the LGTBIQ+ community; stresses the importance of free access to quality information on COVID-19 the pandemic as a whole, adapted to young people’s needs; (¶11)

Watch the plenary interventions here.

Consult the results of the roll-call final vote here (page 397-398) (final votes (691): +592, -42, o57)

Report on the EU Association Agreement with Ukraine

On Thursday, Members of the European Parliament adopted the report on the implementation of the EU Association Agreement with Ukraine (Rapporteur: Michael Gahler, EPP).

The report specifically addresses the situation of LGBTI persons in Ukraine through a dedicated paragraph, namely the need for anti-discrimination legislation and for reform of the Criminal Code:

  • Condemns violent attacks and hate crimes against LGBTI persons and calls on the Ukrainian law enforcement authorities to effectively investigate these attacks; urges Ukraine to establish and effectively implement comprehensive secondary legislation that ensures freedom of belief, counters the continued discrimination against LGBTI persons, feminist activists, persons with disabilities and minorities, and to enhance the protection of their rights; calls on the Ukrainian Government and all political actors to undertake efforts to create an inclusive and tolerant society; (¶76)
  • Regrets the fact that Article 161 of the Criminal Code still does not provide for the punishment of incitement to hatred or violence on grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity, and that these grounds are neither referenced as aggravating forms of offences nor included in the general provisions on aggravating circumstances under Article 67(1)(3); recalls that the Government’s Action Plan on Implementation of the National Human Rights Strategy provided for the inclusion of the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity as aggravating circumstances in Article 67 of the Criminal Code; recalls ECRI’s recommendations and calls on Ukraine to amend the Criminal Code accordingly; (¶77)

Watch part I of the plenary interventions here + and part II here.

Consult the results of the roll-call final vote here (page 251-252) (final votes (676): +526, -79, o71)

Resolution on Challenges ahead for women’s rights: more than 25 years after the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action

Still on Thursday, Members of the European Parliament adopted the resolution on Challenges ahead for women’s rights: more than 25 years after the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, which calls on the following:

  • whereas women face intersecting inequalities and discrimination, inter alia linked to their race, ethnic or social origin, sexual orientation, gender identities and expression, religion or belief, residence status and disability, and efforts must address all forms of discrimination to achieve gender equality for all women; whereas EU policies have to reinforce their intersectional approach to address the institutional, structural and historical dimensions of discrimination; whereas applying an intersectional analysis not only allows us to understand structural barriers, but also provides evidence to create benchmarks and set a path towards strategic and effective policies against systemic discrimination, exclusion and social inequalities; (recital O)
  • Welcomes the Commission’s commitment in the Gender Equality Strategy to fighting gender-based violence, and reiterates the call to conclude the EU’s ratification of the Istanbul Convention on the basis of a broad accession, and to advocate its ratification and implementation by all the Member States; (¶34)
  • Welcomes the initiative on extending the areas of crime to encompass specific forms of gender-based violence in accordance with Article 83(1) TFEU, and calls on the Commission to then come up with a proposal for a holistic, victim-centred EU Directive to prevent and combat all forms of gender-based violence; recalls that such new legislative measures should in any case be complementary to the ratification of the Istanbul Convention; (¶35)

Watch part I of the plenary interventions here + and part II here.

Consult the results of the roll-call final vote here (page 109-110) (final votes (690): +505, -109, 076)

Resolutions on Uganda, Yemen and Kazakhstan

On Thursday, the Parliament adopted several resolutions on human rights situations.

The resolution on the political situation in Uganda carried the following mentions:

  • Strongly criticises Uganda’s harsh laws against homosexuality and calls for their urgent revision, together with a strategy to combat discrimination and violence against LGBTQ+ people; (¶12)
  • Insists that the EU delegation in Uganda continue to monitor closely the situation of LGBTQ+ people and actively support CSOs, human rights defenders and LGBTQ+ people on the ground; (¶13)

Watch the plenary interventions here.

Consult the results of the roll-call final vote here (page 107-108) (final votes (695): +632, -15, o48)


The resolution on the human rights situation in Kazakhstan carried the following mentions:

  • whereas LGBTI persons in Kazakhstan still face legal challenges and discrimination; whereas the Kazakh Parliament adopted discriminatory amendments to the new health code in June 2020 that regulate aspects of healthcare for transgender people; whereas the process for changing one’s gender identity in Kazakhstan remains invasive and humiliating; (recital H)
  • Insists that the rights of the LGBTI community must be fully respected; calls on the Government of Kazakhstan to guarantee the principle of anti-discrimination against the LGBTI community, including by prohibiting discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation by law; calls for proper training for judicial and police officers, as well as service providers, to ensure that LGBTI people are given appropriate care and protection; (¶15)

Watch the plenary interventions here.

Consult the results of the roll-call final vote here (page 105-106) (final votes (693): +598, -43, o52)

The resolution on the humanitarian and political situation in Yemen carried the following mentions:

  • whereas the UN GEE found that the UAE-backed Security Belt Forces perpetrate rape and other forms of sexual violence against detainees in several detention facilities, including the Bureiqa coalition facility and the Bir Ahmed prison, and against migrants and marginalised black African communities, as well as threats and harassment against LGBTI persons; whereas credible allegations of the use of rape and torture as a weapon of war, in particular against politically engaged women and women activists, have been levelled against the Houthi movement; (recital P)

Watch the plenary interventions here.

Consult the results of the roll-call final vote here (page 99-100) (final votes (694): +638, -12, o44)

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