Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland has warned that discrimination and prejudice against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people cannot be left unanswered.
In his statement marking 17 May’s International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, Jagland said: “In the Council of Europe, we are responding through our institutions and through the establishment of an LGBT Unit within the Secretariat. The Council of Europe is now working with six countries – Albania, Montenegro, Italy, Serbia, Latvia and Poland – to put in place projects on this topic, and I encourage other countries to join this initiative.
“LGBT people still face intolerant attitudes and social barriers across most, if not all, Council of Europe member states. Recent judgments of the European Court of Human Rights point at unjustified bans or administrative obstacles imposed on gay pride parades. They underline problems related to discrimination in granting social rights such as the right to employment.
“National authorities have a responsibility to ensure that their countries meet international commitments, including responding to negative steps taken at local or regional level. Political leaders also bear the responsibility to speak out immediately and strongly against any demonstrations or statements of intolerance or homophobia, especially those made by other politicians.”
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