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 a landmark conference on LGBT rights at the Palais de l’Europe on Tuesday 27 March 2012.
The conference, “Combating discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity across Europe: sharing knowledge and moving forward” brings together gay rights activists and politicians, including ministers.
It looked at how to transform the Council of Europe’s existing gay rights recommendation into reality, focussing on protection from hate crime and bullying, education and employment, family life and transgender equality.
LGBT rights are a priority for the UK chairmanship of the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers’.
The Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Thorbjorn Jagland, has issued a broad statement on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, saying that there has been a lot of progress towards anti-discrimination in member states over the past 10-15 years.
However, the Secretary General has warned politicians in some countries against exploiting LGBT issues in order to win more votes.
On 23 June 2011 the Commissioner launched a detailed report on "Discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity," covering all the 47 member states of the Council of Europe. Six thematic chapters give a broad overview of the human rights situation of LGBT persons and recommendations are provided for developing and implementing effective measures to address discrimination. The report is intended as a tool for dialogue with authorities and other stakeholders.