Thursday, 27 June 2013

PACE adopts new resolution and recommendation

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has today adopted new resolutions and recommendations relating to sexual orientation. These are extremely significant. 

Recommendation 2021 (2013) recommends that the Committee of Ministers:

  • ensure regular follow-up of Recommendation CM/Rec(2010)5 on measures to combat discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity and conduct periodic reviews of its implementation;
  • devote special attention to the issue of legislation on so-called “homosexual propaganda” and ensure that Council of Europe member States respect the recommendations expressed by the European Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission) in its Opinion on this matter;
  • ensure that its activities in the areas of youth, equality, human dignity and intercultural dialogue, including its religious dimension, mainstream the issue of non-discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity;
  • intensify its work against homophobia and transphobia, with a particular emphasis on prevention in schools and sports;
  • set up a model online training course on homophobia, transphobia and discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity for the police, prosecutors and the judiciary, which could subsequently be adapted at national level; 
  • explicitly include sexual orientation and gender identity as prohibited grounds of discrimination in all its future relevant conventions;
  • consider the feasibility of joint action with the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) in order to 
  • ensure the collection of comparable Council of Europe-wide data and information on the situation of LGBTs;
  • ensure that the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights, including those concerning discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity, are effectively implemented without delay, including through the adoption of general measures to prevent further violations. 

Resolution 1948 (2013) calls on Council of Europe member States:

As regards equality and non-discrimination, to:

  • ensure the full protection of human rights for all those who are subject to their jurisdiction, including the prohibition of discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity;
  • ensure that any new legal and policy instrument they adopt in the area of equality and non-discrimination explicitly includes sexual orientation and gender identity;
  • introduce, without delay, civil legislation protecting against discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity in all areas of life, including employment, education, health, access to goods and services, housing, access to social security and social advantages;
  • devise and implement national action plans/strategies aimed at promoting equality and non-discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity;
  • introduce clear regulations on public duty, mandating the public services to refrain from discriminating on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity;
  • involve LGBT and human rights organisations in consultations on draft laws and policies concerning discrimination;
  • adopt criminal legislation introducing sexual orientation and gender identity as grounds for prosecution of hate crimes;
  • introduce binding guidelines for law-enforcement officials to ensure that any alleged hate motive associated with a crime, including hate motives on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity, is promptly, impartially, effectively and thoroughly investigated and duly taken into account in the prosecution and sentencing of those crimes.

As regards incitement to harassment or violence on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity, to:

  • improve data collection on homophobic and transphobic crimes, as well as on discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity;
  • organise public campaigns on equality and diversity, as well as against incitement to harassment or violence on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity;
  • ensure that projects against bullying in schools do not discriminate on any grounds, with a special emphasis on prevention, addressed to and involving students, teachers and school staff;
  • train police, judiciary and administration officials on homophobia, transphobia and the prohibition of discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity;
  • set up complaint and support mechanisms for victims of homophobic and transphobic violence, such as hotlines and specific social services, equipped with specialised staff. 

As regards specific situations of concern, the Assembly calls on:

  • the authorities that exercise de facto control in the northern part of Cyprus to give full execution to the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Modinos v. Cyprus and ensure the decriminalisation of consensual same-sex relations between adults, as in the Government-controlled areas of the Republic of Cyprus;
  • the authorities of Poland to give full execution to the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Bączkowski and Others v. Poland;
  • the competent authorities of the Republic of Moldova to give full execution to the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Genderdoc-M v. Moldova; to comply with judicial decisions quashing legislation on the prohibition of so-called homosexual propaganda; and to repeal it if they have not yet done so;
  • the authorities of the Russian Federation to give full execution to the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Alekseyev v. Russia;
  • the Russian authorities to halt further action under the “Foreign Agents” Law against the Side by Side LGBT film festival and “Coming Out”, to ensure due process in any appeal proceedings by these organisations against their conviction under this law, and to cease further prosecutions of LGBT human rights organisations for not registering as “foreign agents”;
  • the Russian Council of the Federation to reject the law on so-called “Propaganda of non- traditional sexual relationships among minors”;
  • the Parliament of Ukraine not to pursue the examination of the draft law on the prohibition of so- called “homosexual propaganda”;
  • the relevant local and regional authorities in the Russian Federation to repeal legislation on the prohibition of so-called homosexual propaganda;
  • the authorities of Georgia to carry out a prompt investigation into the attack by the violent counter- demonstrators against the participants of the rally against Homophobia on 17 May 2013, and hold accountable those who incited and committed violent acts;
  • the Parliament of Lithuania not to pursue the examination of proposals to introduce administrative penalties for so-called “public denigration of constitutional moral values and of constitutional fundamentals of family life”.

As regards the role of public figures, including parliamentarians, politicians and other people in a position of authority, the Assembly:

  • invites them to establish a relationship of dialogue and trust with the LGBT community, also by taking part in Pride marches and similar events;
  • calls on them to refrain from homophobic and transphobic discourse and to publicly condemn it;
  • proposes to organise awareness-raising activities aimed at parliamentarians on the prevention of homophobia and transphobia, as well as the promotion of Council of Europe standards in the area of non-discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. 

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