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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, May 17, 2013 - Volume 41 Issue 20x
ILGA rates Europe for LGBT rights - 'Rainbow map' shows progress, but doesn't tell the whole story
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ILGA rates Europe for LGBT rights - 'Rainbow map' shows progress, but doesn't tell the whole story

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

ILGA-Europe, the European division of the International LGBTI Association, released its annual report on LGBT rights on May 16.

'The Annual Review 2013 uncovers the real situation of LGBTI people beyond laws and gives us the whole picture of what it is like to be an LGBTI person in Europe today. The picture is far from satisfactory,' ILGA-Europe co-chair Gabi Calleja said.

'While some countries are scoring high on the Rainbow Map because they have good laws, the situation on the ground often is very different. Even in countries with the most advanced laws and policies, there is a surprisingly high percentage of LGBTI people who are adjusting their behaviors on a daily basis because they fear violence and harassment when in public.'

According to the report, the Turkish-occupied northern zone of Cyprus is the only area on the continent where same-sex relations are still criminalized. Nevertheless, the ILGA raised serious concerns about conditions in a number of other countries.

RIGHTIST GROUPS ON RISE
Expressions of 'overt homophobia and Transphobia' by government, religious leaders, and extremist groups were 'common' in Bulgaria, the ILGA found.

Italy has not taken any legislative initiatives to protect LGBT residents despite having a 'relatively high level' of violence against LGBT people.

The economic crisis in Greece has led to a rise in extremist groups like the neo-Nazi Chrysi Avgi (Golden Dawn) party, who target minorities - including the LGBT community.

Even in France, which recently passed a marriage equality law, the ILGA found 1,397 cases of hate crime, hate speech, and discrimination incidents against sexual minorities were documented last year.

In general, the ILGA said, 'degrading, offensive, and defamatory language' is one of the 'most common trends' across Europe.

A HELP TO POLICYMAKERS
Nils Mui~nieks, commissioner of human rights for the Council of Europe, said the 2013 report would help guide future policy decisions.

'Advocacy based on solid facts is what we need for advancing the human rights of LGBTI people. ILGA-Europe and its national member organizations have firsthand knowledge of what is going on and share their insights and concerns through the Annual Review and the Rainbow Map,' he said.

'In addition to holding countries accountable for their actions, the Annual Review also gives a critical account of the steps taken by international organizations. It is a valuable tool for a serious debate about the human rights situation of LGBTI persons across Europe.'

The ILGA is a federation of more than 750 LGBT organizations in 110 countries. It is accredited to the U.N. with consultative status.

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