Thursday, July 3, 2008

Publication of European Report on Homophobia and Transphobia - part 1

Cover of the report
The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) has just released the first part of a report on the state of Homosexual Rights in the 27 member states of the Union.

The FRA, which is based in Vienna, was inaugurated on March 1, 2007. It is the successor to the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC). The report forms a comprehensive study on homophobia, transphobia and discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation.

The report analyses comparatively key legal provisions, relevant judicial data, such as court decisions, and case law in the Member States. In addition, the report identifies and highlights 'good practice' in the form of positive measures and initiatives to overcome under-reporting of LGBT discrimination, to promote inclusion and to protect transgender persons.

The report identifies differences in treatment and protection by the law for LGBT people and a lack of full and equal enjoyment of rights in areas of EU competence particularly with regard to same sex partnerships. This relates to rights and benefits provided for spouses and partners under the EU’s Free Movement Directive, the Family Reunification Directive and the Qualification Directive.

The report also highlights that homophobic hate speech and hate crime represent obstacles to the possibility for individuals to exercise their free movement and other rights in a non-discriminatory manner. Homophobia could be combated more effectively using EU wide criminal legislation.

“Equal treatment is a fundamental right that all members of our society should enjoy”, said FRA’s Director Morten Kjaerum, “the fact that Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transsexuals are not treated equally in some aspects of EU legislation, particularly concerning same sex couples should be a cause of concern for us all. More comprehensive legal protection, as well as wider powers and resources for equality bodies are required, and I urge that the new measures on non-discrimination discussed by the EU will ensure this”.

The report is based on national reports and a comparative analysis by FRA's Legal Experts group. The national reports are available at the bottom of this page. The legal report itself can be downloaded here (PDF file).

FRA ’s legal analysis is the first of two reports related to homophobia and discrimination experienced by members of the LGBT community. The second report detailing the social aspects will be released later in the autumn.

In the same week, the European Commission released its new discrimination directive, yesterday. Details available here.

FRA on Wikipedia
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