Plenary summary: human rights and democracy in the world, non-tariff and tariff barriers in the single market, EU priorities for the UN Commission on the Status of Women, resolutions on Philippines and the death penalty in Iran
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:
- Human rights and democracy in the world and the European Union’s policy on the matter – annual report 2021 – Committee on Foreign Affairs
- Tackling non-tariff and non-tax barriers in the single market – Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection
- The EU priorities for the 66th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women
- Resolution on the recent human rights developments in the Philippines
- Resolution on the death penalty in Iran
- (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 Tuesday, Members of the European Parliament debated the Human rights and democracy in the world and the European Union’s policy on the matter – annual report 2021 (rapporteur: María Soraya Rodríguez Ramos, Renew Europe). The report was adopted on Wednesday.
The text of the report provides an annual overview of the democracy and human rights issues and makes several references to LGBTIQ issues:
The report states:
- Strongly condemns human rights breaches, discrimination, persecution and threats to life against and the killings of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, non-binary, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) people around the world, which has been exacerbated by the use of COVID-19 as an excuse to crack down on LGBTIQ defenders and engage in homophobic and transphobic defamation; calls on the EU to play a leading role in defending the rights of LGBTIQ people in international forums, including working towards the decriminalisation of sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics and the elimination of intersex genital mutilation, so-called ‘conversion therapy’ and the forced sterilisation of trans people; welcomes the fact that the LGBTIQ Equality Strategy 2020-2025 includes the EU’s commitment to include LGBTIQ issues in its external policy, including support under the NDICI – Global Europe Instrument and Instrument for Pre-Accession funds; calls on the EU and the Member States to thoroughly and consistently apply the EU guidelines on the promotion and protection of the human rights of LGBTIQ persons across its external policies; (¶68)
- Fully supports the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, to hold a belief, or not to believe, and the right to manifest and to change or leave one’s religion or belief without fear of violence, persecution or discrimination; […] condemns the abuse of blasphemy laws to perpetuate discrimination and deplores the use of religion and religious institutions to the detriment of human rights through the persecution, including by legal means, of belief or religious minorities and communities, women, LGBTIQ persons, and others in vulnerable situations; […]; (¶69)
Also on Tuesday, Members of the European Parliament debate the report on Tackling non-tariff and non-tax barriers in the single market (rapporteur: Kosma Złotowski, ECR). The report was adopted on Wednesday.
The text of the reports made one reference to LGBTIQ issues:
- Recalls that public policy, public health or public security can be invoked by a Member State only where it can prove the existence of a genuine, sufficiently serious threat affecting one of the fundamental interests of society; finds unacceptable, therefore, any form of state sponsored discrimination, for example againstpeople with disabilities or based on economic position, nationality, age, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, profession, sex or sexual orientation (including LGBTIQ-phobia); considers that such discrimination may restrict the freedoms of the internal market and thus establish a non-tariff barrier affecting the free movement of goods and services, as it prevents goods producers and service providers from delivering the same goods and services equally throughout the EU and consumers from benefitting from the achievements of the single market; (¶28)
On Wednesday, Members of the European Parliament debated the resolution on The EU priorities for the 66th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women. The resolution was adopted on Thursday.
The text of the reports focuses on intersectional action and states the following:
- (x) to emphasise the need to protect and promote the rights of groups experiencing multiple and intersectional forms of discrimination, including women with disabilities, Black women and women of colour, migrant and ethnic-minority women, older women, women in rural and depopulated areas, single mothers and LGBTIQ people; to work to promote the concept of combating multiple discrimination and to integrate intersectional analysis throughout all UN bodies and the EU and its Member States;
On Thursday, Members of the European Parliament debated the Resolution on the recent human rights developments in the Philippines. The resolution was adopted the same day.
The text of the reports states the following:
- Strongly condemns President Duterte’s demeaning, sexist and misogynist statements about women and people who identify as belonging to the LGBTIQ+ community and urges him to refrain from inciting violence against them; (¶7)
- Reaffirms its opposition to the death penalty and recalls that criminal legislation must always be based on the presumption of innocence; (¶11)
Also on Thursday, Members of the European Parliament debated the Resolution on the death penalty in Iran. The resolution was adopted the same day.
The text of the reports states the following:
- whereas the death penalty is disproportionally applied to ethnic and religious minorities, notably the Baluch, Kurds, Arabs and Baha’is; whereas the penal code criminalises homosexuality and the death penalty is used to target LGBTIQ persons; whereas women are subject to capital punishment as a result of the discriminatory nature of several laws that directly concern them; (D.)
- Calls on the Iranian authorities to address all forms of discrimination against persons belonging to ethnic and religious minorities, including the Baluch, Kurds, Arabs, Baha’is, Christians and LGBTIQ persons, and to immediately and unconditionally release all those imprisoned for exercising their right to freedom of religion or belief or sexual orientation; (¶12)
- Condemns, in the strongest possible terms, the application of the death penalty for same-sex relations, which are still illegal in Iran; (¶13)
- Highlights that citizens of Iran, through citizen-led initiatives, are consistently calling for the abolition of the death penalty and for an end to its use against human rights defenders and its disproportionate use against minorities; supports Iranian civil society and its peaceful efforts in pursuit of human rights; (¶15)