Combating Homophobia Conference

IGLYO at the Council of Europe Conference on Combating Homophobia

On 27 March 2012, IGLYO participated in the conference “Combating discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity across Europe: Sharing knowledge and moving forward” that was held by the UK Chairmanship of the Council of Europe. The conference brought together LGBT rights activists, politicians and ministers from Council of Europe member states to look at how the Recommendation CM/Rec(2010)5 of the Committee of Ministers to member states on measures to combat discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity are being implemented.

The UK Equalities Minister Lynn Featherstone joined Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland, Human Rights Commissioner Thomas Hammarberg and Sir Nicolas Bratza, President of the European Court of Human Rights to launch the landmark conference on LGBT rights at the Palais de l’Europe. More than 120 participants had the opportunity to discuss what progress had there been on the recommendations and what were the key priorities and challenges, particularly in the field of protection from hate crime and bullying, education and employment, family life and transgender equality. The non-governmental sector was represented by IGLYO, ILGA-Europe and TGEU-Transgender Europe.

In his conference opening address, Thorbjørn Jagland, Secretary General of the Council of Europe, noted recent crucial structural changes within this intergovernmental body: “In order to build upon this important trend, and to streamline work on LGBT issues within the Council of Europe, I decided last year to create within the Directorate of Human Rights and Anti-discrimination a specific LGBT Issues Unit. The first-ever structure of its kind in an international intergovernmental institution. Its work is developing fast, with the excellent co-operation of national authorities and the involvement of all relevant stakeholders, including non-governmental organisations. Developing national strategies to combat discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity is one example of its practical approach.”

The conference was organised by the Government Equalities Office of the United Kingdom in co-operation with the LGBT Unit of the Council of Europe under the auspices of the United Kingdom Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe. IGLYO sent Artiom Zavadovski, Board Member, and Jordan Long, Programmes & Policy Officer. Jordan facilitated a discussion amongst participants on the Recommendations relating to education and employment, sharing IGLYO’s practices on the pan-European level in these fields. IGLYO also distributed its own Guidelines for an LGBTQ-Inclusive Education.

IGLYO was pleased to be a part of this high level discussion and to represent the interests of LGBTQ youth and students. We are encouraged by the attention paid to the needs of young people, and encourage the Council of Europe and other European level bodies to continue the efforts to secure the rights of all people, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, and age.

For more information on the Council of Europe work in this area, please visit http://www.coe.int/lportal/web/coe-portal/what-we-do/human-rights/homophobia?dynLink=true&layoutId=128&dlgroupId=10226&fromArticleId=. For more information about IGLYO, visit www.iglyo.com or email office@iglyo.com

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