Strasbourg, 16 May 2014 - In an interview with the Associated Press about the International Day Against Homophobia, Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland says that he is “optimistic” about Europe “going in the right direction” on discrimination against LGBT people.
He praised the victory of Conchita Wurst in this year’s Eurovision song contest as a sign of tolerance and “a positive sign” for LGBT rights. “LGBT rights are human rights, not special rights,” the Secretary General stressed.
Mr. Jagland expressed concern over the adoption of discriminative legislation in the form of banning “homosexual propaganda” in Russia and in other countries. He told the Associated Press that he was "saddened" by the ban of the Moscow Conchita Wurst Pride event: "Peaceful freedom of assembly is a fundamental right protected by the Council of Europe, and I appeal to Russia to uphold it".
He also stressed that LGBT people face discrimination across Europe. “As recently as in 1999, our Court [in the case of Smith and Grady v UK (1999)] unanimously found that a discharge of military personnel in the UK on the basis that they were homosexual was a breach of their right to a private life and that important decision, led the UK to adopt a revised sexual-orientation-free Armed Forces Code of Social Conduct in January 2000.”
“Not every country is moving at the same speed, but we are seeing generally a positive trend,” he said. (more...)
Video spot against homophobia