European Parliament welcomes recent UN developments on sexual orientation and gender identity

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Today the European Parliament joined the United Nations’ call for safeguarding the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in the world. The resolution adopted today was co-signed by 6 out of 7 political groups, and adopted with a very wide majority.

Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the EUWelcoming the adoption in June of the first-ever resolution on ‘Human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity’ at the United Nations Human Rights Council, the European Parliament confirmed its concern regarding “human rights violations and widespread discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, both in the European Union and [abroad]”.

With today’s text, the European Parliament welcomed the work done by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and High Commissioner for Human Rights Navanethem Pillay for the human rights of LGBT people worldwide. MEPs also addressed a range of recommendations to the European Commission and EU states in order to improve the EU’s own human rights record.

The resolution followed a short debate during which Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, presented the important work done by the EU and Member States to safeguard the human rights of LGBT people in the world. She also expressed her support for the proposal of an EU-wide comprehensive roadmap against homophobia and transphobia.

Reacting to the vote, Michael Cashman MEP, Co-President of the European Parliament’s Intergroup for LGBT Rights, said: “Catherine Ashton and the European External Action Service showed their clear commitment to universal and indivisible human rights, including for LGBT people. Today the elected representatives of 500 million citizens stood by this commitment, joining countries from around the world such as South Africa and Brazil.”

Ulrike Lunacek MEP, Co-President of the LGBT Intergroup, continued: “The Parliament adopted a very strong and sensible resolution, repeating that the EU itself still hasn’t achieved genuine equality in the struggle against homophobia and transphobia. Our demand for global equality is not isolated: the Organization of American States adopted a similar resolution in June, and ever more countries from all continents keep raising their concern about violence and discrimination of LGBT people. This is a truly global call.”

The debate on the resolution took place yesterday evening (English, 23 minutes):

Today’s text mandates the European External Action Service and EU Member States to step up their work for the human rights of LGBT people worldwide.

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Image credits: © European Union 2011 PE-EP/Pietro Naj-Oleari


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