UN resolution LGBT rights: top five flops in Europe

Article published on June 28, 2011
Article published on June 28, 2011
On 17 June, slap bang in the middle of Europe's May-August 'gay pride' rallies, the United Nations approved its first ever resolution on LGBT rights, showing a new shift of recognition on a global level. It's the perfect opportunity to take stock of the worst sexual minorities’ rights in Europe

1) Ukraine: waiting for a Pink Revolution

Ukraine joined Belgium, France, Hungary, Norway, Poland, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom in voting for the recent UN resolution's favour of LGBT rights. Whilst this is not the country that automatically comes to mind when it comes to homophobic violence, there is more legal discrimination in the eastern country than in any other European country: gay pride is banned in Ukraine and there is no legal certainty for same-sex couples. ILGA-Europe (the European region of the international lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex association) also condemn the violations of freedom of association. To complete the bleak outlook, transgender people are only recognised by law if they have undergone steralisation, and married transgender people must get a divorce

2) Moldova: another country lagging behind

Whether they are gay or lesbian, bisexual, transgender or just gay-friendly, they wear out their shoes whilst demanding respect for their rights and the right to respect. As one of the most under-developed countries in Europe, Moldova is also the one where LGBT rights are the most absent. After being legalised in 2002, gay pride parades are prohibited here on the grounds that this would not be consistent with the catholic values of an orthodox country. Moldova also voted against the recent UN resolution

3) Belarus: homosexuals need to 'lead a normal life'

It is unfortunately not a surprise to find the 'last dictatorship in Europe' in this classification, due to the numerous human rights violations in this country. Demonstrations are banned — in December 2010 protests against the re-election of Alexander Lukashenko, who won with a result worthy of the days of Stalin, ended in violence.

Appointed in 2009, Westerwelle joins Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit on the list of openly gay politicians in GermanyAs did gay pride in May 2010, which ended in arrests and fines. President Lukashenko was also talked about at the start of the year when he confirmed to the media that he told the openly gay German foreign minister Guido Westerwelle 'eye to eye' that he needed to lead a 'normal life'. Organisations defending LGBT rights nevertheless exist in Belarus, but social life is secretive and there are often police raids

4) Russia defies European court of human rights

Even if Russia legally recognises the existence of transgender people without forcing them to have defamatory surgery, it fails regarding LGBT rights to marry and the fight against the discrimination of sexual minorities and was against the June UN resolution. The country was punished twice by the European court of human rights for restricting the freedom of demonstration (in 2010 and in 2011) for gay pride being banned in Moscow.

Read 'Perspective: what has the EU done for LGBT rights?' on cafebabel.com

The parade organised this year was marred with violence; human rights activists such as Louis-George Tin, the president of the international day against homophobia and transphobia’s committee, came to support Russian organisations’ claims and testified that small groups of neo-fascists lent a strong hand to the police

5) Turkey: gay pride but discrimination

The honor killing committed against the 'gay poster boy' student Ahmet Yildiz in 2008, as well as the recent dismissal of Halil Ibrahim Dinçdag from football referees lists (the 33-year-old was also excused from military service because of his homosexuality), have made their mark in Turkey. Although gay pride is allowed — Istanbul hosted its nineteenth event on 20 June in Taksim Square — the rights of LGBT organisations is not always respected. One of these organisations, Kaos Lambda, had to be banned by the mayor of Istanbul after being raided by the police.

The case never reached prosecution

Living as a homosexual can turn out to be particularly dangerous and police harassment is common in the EU potential candidate, as revealed by a report by human rights watch in 2008. The community remains discreet, even though a restaurant owner opened an institution in 2009. The re-election of prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of the islamist justice and development party (AKP) ought not to change the situation for some years to come.

Even if there is now no longer a country in Europe that considers homosexuality to be a disease, or completely bans sexual relations, some countries still have a long way to go on the path of equality of rights for LGBT people, notably due to the power of religious conservatism or even of communist heritage.

This top five list was created from the classification set by the International Lesbian and Gay Association of Europe NGO (ILGA-Europe) on the occasion of the international day against homophobia (IDAHO)

Images: main (cc) ЯAFIK ♋ BERLIN; Guido Westerwelle (cc) Michaelthurm; Ahmet Yildiz (cc) Mikebear/ all courtesy of Flickr/ video © Tele2news2011/ Youtube