LGBT reports and instruments from the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities

The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities - an institution of the Council of Europe, responsible for strengthening local and regional democracy in its 47 member states - has issued two comprehensive reports concerning LGBT+ issues, and a Recommendation and two Resolutions.

Protection of LGBTI people in the context of rising anti-LGBTI hate speech and discrimination: the role of local and regional authorities

This report draws attention to the situation of LGBTI people and the increasing contestation of their rights recognition and identity, reminding local and regional authorities that the protection of these rights is essential to strengthen social cohesion and democracy. It outlines different ways in which backsliding on international commitments or adopted legislation in this respect occurs and examines how this negative trend has affected the lives of LGBTI people, paying particular attention to the health and well-being of LGBTI youth. The report also provides good practice examples from cities and regions that have adopted policies and legislation and taken action in defense of LGBTI people’s rights.

In a resolution, the Congress reminds local and regional authorities of their role in fighting hatred and discrimination against LGBTI people and the violations of their rights. It calls on them to mainstream LGBTI equality in their policies and to introduce legislation forbidding hate speech and crimes, inviting them to monitor progress of these policies through data collection. The report provides local and regional authorities with concrete policy recommendations to promote the social rights, inclusion, and well-being of LGBTI citizens and to ensure the safety of LGBTI youth at school.

In a recommendation, the Congress invites governments of member States to develop national action plans on anti-discrimination and LGBTI inclusion and to gather data regarding these issues, in addition to implementing the recommendations, resolutions and judgements of Council of Europe bodies.

The role of local authorities with regard to the situation and rights of LGBTI people in Poland

This report considers that, since 2019, over 90 Polish local and regional authorities have passed resolutions declaring themselves free from so-called “LGBT-ideology” or adopted “Local government Charters of the Rights of the Family”, amid an increasingly polarised debate around issues related to LGBTI people and growing hate speech towards them. To understand these developments, and at the request of two members of the Polish Parliament, the Congress mandated a delegation to carry out a remote fact-finding mission, which took place from 2 to 3 November 2020. It met with interlocutors from the Polish government, the Ombudsman, national and sub-national elected representatives as well as NGOs.

In a resolution, drawing upon the conclusions of the fact-finding report adopted by the Current Affairs Committee on 17 February 2021, the Congress calls on Polish local and regional authorities to withdraw all declarations and resolutions against so-called “LGBT ideology” and all analogous texts regardless of their title. Moreover, the Congress urges local and regional authorities in Poland to ensure the protection of vulnerable groups, with particular attention to the deleterious impact of hate speech on the lives of LGBTI people.