Plenary summary: Gender-based cyber violence, equality between men and women, resolutions on Russia and Nicaragua

During its December I plenary session, the European Parliament Plenary debated and voted on a single file related to the human rights of LGBTI persons: 

Combating gender-based violence: cyberviolence

On Monday, Members of the European Parliament debate the legislative report on Combating gender-based violence: cyberviolence (rapporteurs: Sylwia Spurek, G-EFA and Elissavet Vozemberg-Vrionidi, EPP). The report was adopted on Tuesday.

The text of the report looks comprehensively at gender-based violence against LGBTIQ people, and asks the Commission to criminalise several types of crime, such as cyberharassment, cyberstalking, recording and sharing of images of rapes or other forms of sexual assault, threats, sexist hate speech, among others.

The report states:

  • Underlines that gender-based cyberviolence is a continuation of offline gender-based violence and that no policy alternative will be effective unless it takes that reality into consideration; stresses that existing Union legal acts do not provide the mechanisms needed to address gender-based cyberviolence adequately; calls on the Member States and the Commission to formulate and implement legislative and non-legislative measures, to address gender-based cyberviolence and to include the voices of victims of gender-based cyberviolence in the strategies for addressing it […]; (¶1)
  • Recommendation 1 on the objective of the legislative proposal : The objective is to include in the upcoming directive on combating all forms of gender-based violence minimum rules, as a harmonised policy response, concerning the definition of the crime of gender-based cyberviolence and related sanctions, to establish measures to promote and support the action of Member States in the field of prevention of that crime and to establish measures to protect, support and ensure reparations for victims. Additionally according to the LGBTIQ Equality Strategy 2020-2025, to include in the upcoming proposal the definition of online hate crime and hate speech when targeted at LGBTIQ people.This proposal should not undermine any efforts to identify all forms of gender-based violence as a new area of particularly serious crime. (Annex 1, Recommendation 1)
  • Recommendation 2 on the scope and definitions: The inclusion of the term ‘computer crime’ in Article 83(1) TFEU may also cover crimes committed against electronic communication networks or information systems or by using them, and serious forms of online gender-based violence with a cross-border dimension may fall within the scope of ‘computer crime’ within the meaning of Article 83(1) TFEU. In addition, measures that aim to prevent gender-based cyberviolence and to assist victims could be established on the basis of Article 83(1) TFEU because they are secondary to the main objective of the legislative proposal. The scope of the legislative proposal should cover any form of gender-based violence committed, assisted or aggravated in part or fully by the use of ICT, such as mobile phones and smartphones, the internet, social media platforms or email, against a woman because she is a woman, or affects women disproportionately or against LGBTIQ people on the grounds of gender identity, gender expression or sex characteristics. (Annex 1, Recommendation 2, which crimes?)

Watch the plenary debate here: (part I) and (part II).

Consult the results of the roll-call final vote here (page 17-18) (final votes (693): +513, -122, o58).

Equality between women and men in the European Union in 2018-2020

Also on Monday, Members of the European Parliament debate the report on Equality between women and men in the European Union in 2018-2020 (rapporteur: Sandra Pereira, Left). The report was adopted on Wednesday.

The text of the reports states the following:

  • Stresses that access to sexual, reproductive and other forms of healthcare for women is a fundamental right that must be underpinned and may not be in any way watered down or withdrawn; recalls that SRHR services are essential healthcare services that should be available to all, including migrant and refugee women; condemns the actions of anti-gender and anti-feminist movements in Europe and worldwide that systematically attack women’s and LGBTIQ+ rights, including SRHR; calls on the Commission to strongly condemn the backsliding over women’s rights, SRHR and LGBTIQ+ people in some Member States and to use all the powers at its disposal to strengthen action to counter it, including strengthening support for women’s rights defenders and women’s rights organisations in the EU, as well as organisations working on SRHR and LGBTIQ+; (¶25)
  • Recalls the need to combat intersectional forms of discrimination, especially against marginalised groups, including women with disabilities, Black women, migrant, ethnic minority and Roma women, older women, single mothers, LGBTIQ+ people and homeless women; stresses the importance of addressing their needs and concerns in EU polices and initiatives; calls on the Commission to devise specific guidelines on the implementation of the intersectional framework and to present an EU action plan with specific measures to improve the socioeconomic situation of women who face intersectional forms of discrimination and combat the feminisation of poverty and precarious work; (¶30)

Watch the plenary debate here.

Consult the results of the roll-call final vote here (page 65-66) (final votes (686): +500, -105, o87).

Resolution on the continuous crackdown on civil society and human rights defenders in Russia: the case of human rights organisation Memorial

On Thursday, Members of the European Parliament debated the Resolution on the continuous crackdown on civil society and human rights defenders in Russia: the case of human rights organisation Memorial. The resolution was adopted also on Thursday.

The text of the reports states the following:

  • whereas the Russian ‘foreign agents’ law was adopted in 2012 and expanded last year by the Russian Parliament in ways that could apply to any public critic or activist; whereas the number of organisations and individuals that the authorities have designated as ‘foreign agents’ has drastically increased in recent months; whereas this law has been used by the Russian authorities to facilitate the crackdown on independent civil society active in Russia, targeting NGOs, human rights defenders, journalists, lawyers, women’s rights and LGBTIQ+ rights activists, and environmental activists; whereas this law, as well as legislation on ‘undesirable organisations’ and on ‘countering extremist activity’, violates Russia’s own Constitution and international human rights obligations […]; whereas the example of Memorial clearly demonstrates how these laws are used by the Russian authorities as a tool to intimidate and silence critics and independent voices; (L.)
  • Expresses its solidarity with the Russian people and urges the Russian authorities to stop persecuting Memorial, its staff, and all other NGOs, human rights defenders, journalists, lawyers, scholars, historians, women’s rights and LGBTIQ+ rights activists and environmental activists in Russia;reiterates its support to Russia’s civil society and human rights defenders and calls on Russia to establish a clear legal framework and a safe working environment for civil society in line with international human rights standards; […](¶5)

Watch the plenary debate here.

Consult the results of the roll-call final vote here (page 142-143) (final votes (664): +569, -46, o49).

Resolution on the situation in Nicaragua

On Tuesday, Members of the European Parliament debated the Resolution on the situation in Nicaragua. The resolution was adopted also on Thursday.

The text of the reports states the following:

  • Demands justice and accountability for all victims, in line with Nicaragua’s laws, international commitments and obligations, through impartial, thorough and independent investigations; urges the Nicaraguan authorities to undertake deep structural reforms to ensure minimum legal guarantees and due process; condemns, furthermore, the increasing violence and intimidation faced by human rights defenders, LGBTIQ people, women and indigenous activists in the country, including femicides; urges the Nicaraguan authorities to put an end to repression and human rights violations and restore full respect for human rights, in particular through the repeal of all restrictive and illegitimate laws and the reinstatement of the legal personality of human rights defenders’ organisations; calls for the EU and its Member States to support the creation of an investigation and accountability mechanism within the UN Human Rights Council; (¶5)

Watch the plenary debate here.

Consult the results of the roll-call final vote here (page 150-151) (final votes (685): +619, -25, o41).

For a complete list of all texts (and specific paragraphs) in this legislature touching upon LGBTI issues, check our List of resources available here.

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