Members of the European Parliament have welcomed the adoption by the Council of the European Union of a Toolkit to Promote and Protect the Enjoyment of all Human Rights by Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) People (PDF). The document, prepared by the intergovernmental EU body in consultation with civil society organisations, outlines what the European Union should be doing abroad to defend the human rights of LGBT people.
Among other recommendations, the toolkit calls on EU diplomats, the future European External Action Service (EEAS) and EU Member States to actively work towards the decriminalisation of same-sex relations throughout the world; to further denounce discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity; and to support human rights defenders in repressive areas.
The toolkit is a welcome development in the European Union’s external action. Although not binding, it provides the European Union’s institutions with a blueprint for positive action in favour of LGBT people’s human rights abroad.
Ulrike Lunacek MEP, Co-president of the Intergroup on LGBT Rights and the Greens/EFA Group’s Coordinator for Foreign Affairs, reacted: “The Council’s Working Party on Human Rights is showing some leadership in the area of human rights for LGBT people, which I applaud. This is a very welcome tool, and one that the Commission, Council, and the European External Action Service should start using as soon and as often as possible, for instance by supporting LGBT human rights defenders in Moscow and St Petersburg.”
Michael Cashman MEP, Co-president of the Intergroup on LGBT Rights, added: “For the first time, the Council has taken an excellent and long-lasting initiative for LGBT people’s human rights abroad. We will be with them along the way to ensure that Catherine Ashton’s European External Action Service and other relevant EU institutions follow these important guidelines—starting with their work with African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries.”
The toolkit will be reviewed every 3 years by the Council.
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