[Press Release] Tackling anti-gay discrimination in Europe

Official press release
The Netherlands gives additional support for tackling anti-gay discrimination in Europe. 

Minister of Education, Culture and Science Marja van Bijsterveldt has pledged funding to the Council of Europe for its efforts to combat discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender LGBT people in Europe.

This is a response to (today's) report by CoE Commissioner for Human Rights Thomas Hammarberg on the situation of Europe's 50 million LGBT people. The report shows that their situation in some European countries is very serious and in urgent need of improvement.

The minister, who is responsible for Dutch equal rights policy, regards the bans on gay demonstrations, continual crimes of violence against LGBT people, and recent manifestations of homophobia in such countries as Bulgaria, Croatia and Hungary as an outrage. She favours a coherent European approach to improving conditions for these groups. "It is unacceptable to me that many of Europe's 50 million LGBT people still cannot enjoy their fundamental human rights," Ms Van Bijsterveldt said.

The Netherlands is therefore giving 500.000 euros towards the implementation of the CoE Committee of Ministers' 46 recommendations on LGBT human rights. The recommendations include measures to protect LGBT people from violence; to better safeguard LGBT people's rights, such as the freedom to demonstrate for LGBT rights with guarantees for the safety of those who take part in such demonstrations; respect of people's right, regardless of their sexual orientation, to form families; and access to public services.

In Ms Van Bijsterveldt's words, "This investment is in keeping with my government's aspirations in the field of gay equal rights, and with the leading role that the Netherlands has played for many years in Europe and on a global scale. Our stature on this issue entails obligations."

The minister will also contribute by sending a letter to her counterparts in other European countries, urging them to take concerted action for LGBT rights.

The CoE report is based on the organisation's first large-scale study of the situation of LGBT people in the 47 CoE member states. The study shows that the Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden are the three European countries where LGBT people enjoy the greatest social acceptance. The report also cites positive examples from the Netherlands such as its "frontrunners" project' on local gay rights policy, its drafting of LGBT policy plans, and its successful interministerial approach to gay equal rights policy. The Netherlands financed the study together with Finland, Flanders, Germany, Norway, Sweden and the UK.

Source: Government of the Netherlands



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