18 EU member states sign declaration on LGBTIQ rights

At a conference in Brussels, 18 of the European Union's 27 member states assured in a joint declaration that they want to continue to stand up for the rights of LGBTIQ people. They also ask the next European Commission to develop a new LGBTIQ strategy and appoint a new Commissioner for Equality.

A report by the EU Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) this week showed that more LGBTIQ people are open about their sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics. But the agency also found that bullying, harassment and violence against LGBTIQ people have reached a new peak. Young people and trans and intersex people are the hardest hit.

“The various figures and barometers presented this week on the situation of LGBTIQ people call for constant vigilance," stated Marie-Colline Leroy, Belgian state secretary for gender equality, equal opportunities and diversity. "I am particularly concerned about growing backlash against human rights – including the right to live in safety and peace – ​ and against fundamental freedoms.”

To underline its commitment to strengthening LGBTIQ rights, the Belgian presidency of the Council of the EU organised a conference where European commissioner for equality Helena Dalli, MEPs and relevant ministers and state secretaries discussed the progress and obstacles to the implementation of the current EU strategy on the equal rights of LGBTIQ people.

18 member states signed at the conference a joint declaration on the continued promotion of the human rights of LGBTIQ persons. They call on the next European Commission, which will be formed after the European elections on 9 June, to pursue and implement a new strategy to improve the rights of LGBTIQ people by allocating sufficient resources and working with civil society. They declared that they will implement national LGBTIQ strategies and support the appointment of a new Commissioner for Equality.

Nine member states did not sign the text: Italy, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Lithuania, Latvia, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. These countries can still join at a later stage if they wish.

State secretary for gender equality and diversity Marie-Colline Leroy ​ © BELGA PHOTO HATIM KAGHAT

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