Wednesday, January 18, 2006

European Parliament debate and resolution on Homophobia

Tomorrow the European Parliament will vote on a resolution on homophobia. (posted below) During the debate on homophobia which took place in the European Parliament yesterday there were no contributions by  Irish MEP’s. Michael Cashman who is the chair of the European Parliament’s Intergroup on lgbt issues made an impassioned speech regarding the debate and issue and you can read it here (half way down the page.
I will post up how the Irish voted on the resolution below when I get the data (it’s a pity I only got this now as we might have been able to launch a mini lobby of them to let them know how we feel!!) This resolution can be amended.

pursuant to Rule 103(4) of the Rules of Procedure, by
–  Alexander Stubb,on behalf of the EPP/ED Group
–  Martine Roure and Michael Cashman (PSE) on behalf of the PSE Group
–  Sophie In't Veld, (ALDE) on behalf of the ALDE Group
–  Kathalijne Buitenweg, Jean Lambert, Monika Frassoni, Elisabeth Schroedter and Raül Romeva (VERT) on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group
–  Giusto Catania, Jonas Sjöstedt, Vittorio Emanuele Agnoletto and Roberto Musacchio (GUE) on behalf of the GUE/NGL Group
replacing the motions by the following groups:
–   EPP/ED
–   PSE
–   Verts/ALE
on Homophobia in Europe
The European Parliament,
  • having regard to international and European human rights obligations, such as those contained in the UN Conventions on human rights and in the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms,

   -  having regard to European Union provisions on human rights, and notably to the European Charter of Fundamental Rights as well as to articles 6 and 7 TEU,
-  having regard to article 13 TEC entrusting the EU with the power to adopt norms aimed at fighting discriminations based on, among others, sexual orientation, and to promote the principle of equality,

   -  having regard to Directive 2000/43/EC and Directive 2000/78/EC prohibiting direct or indirect discrimination on grounds of racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation,

   - having regard to the  Article 21 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights that prohibits "any discrimination based on any ground such as sex, race, colour, ethnic or social origin, genetic features, language, religion or belief, political or any other opinion, membership of a national minority, property, birth, disability, age or sexual orientation",

   -  having regard to art 103(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

         a)      whereas homophobia can be defined as an irrational fear and aversion of homosexuality and of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) people based on prejudice, similar to racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, sexism,

         b)      whereas homophobia manifests itself in the private and public sphere through different means such as hate speech and incitement to discrimination, ridicule, verbal, psychological and physical violence as well as persecution and murder, discrimination in violation of the principle of equality, unjustified and unreasonable limitations of rights often justified on grounds of reasons of public order, religious freedom and the right to conscientious objection,

         c)      whereas a series of worrying events has recently taken place in a number of EU Member States as widely reported by the press and by NGOs, that have ranged from banning gay prides or equality marches to leading political and religious leaders inflammatory/hate/threatening language, police failing to provide adequate protection or even breaking up peaceful demonstrations, violent demonstrations by homophobic groups, introduction of changes in constitutions to explicitly prohibit same-sex unions,

         d)      whereas at the same time a positive, democratic and tolerant reaction has emerged in some cases from the general public, civil society and local and regional authorities that have demonstrated against homophobia, as well as from the justice systems redressing the most striking and illegal forms of discrimination,

         e)  whereas same-sex partners in some Member States do not enjoy all of the rights and protections that married opposite sex partners do, consequently suffering discrimination and disadvantages;

         f) whereas at the same time more countries in Europe are moving towards ensuring equal opportunities, inclusion and respect, and provide protection against discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation,

         g) whereas the Barroso Commission has declared its commitment to ensuring respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in the EU, and has set up a group of Commissioners responsible for Human Rights;

         h)  whereas not all EU Member States have introduced in their legal order measures to protect the rights of LGBT people, as required by Directive 2000/43/EC and Directive 2000/78/EC, and are fighting discrimination based on sexual orientation and promoting equality,

         i)   whereas further action is needed at the EU level as well as in the Member States to eradicate homophobia and to promote a culture of freedom, tolerance and equality among their citizens and in their legal order,

1.  Strongly condemns any discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation;

2.  Calls on Member States to ensure that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are protected from homophobic hate speech and violence and ensure that same-sex partners enjoy the same respect, dignity and protection as the rest of the society;

3.  Urges Member States and the Commission to firmly condemn homophobic hate speech or incitement to hatred and violence,  and to ensure that freedom of demonstration – guaranteed by all human rights treaties - is respected in practice;

4.  Calls on the Commission to ensure that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in all sectors is prohibited, by completing the anti-discrimination package based on art. 13, either by proposing new directives or by proposing a general framework, to cover all grounds of discrimination and in all sectors;

5.  Urges Member States and the Commission to step up the fight against homophobia through education – such as campaigns against homophobia in schools, universities and in the media - as well as through administrative, judicial and legislative means;

6.  Reiterates its position with regard to the “Year 2007 - Equality for All” that the Commission must ensure that all the forms of discrimination referred to in Article 13 of the Treaty and in Article 2 of the Decision establishing the Year are addressed and dealt with equally, as mentioned in the European Parliament's report the proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and the Council on the European Year of Equal Opportunities for All (2007) - Towards a Just Society and reminds the European Commission of its promise to closely monitor this matter and to report to the European Parliament;

7.  Urges the Commission to ensure that all Member States have transposed and are correctly implementing Directive 2000/78/EC (Establishing a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation) , and to start infringement proceedings against those Member States that fail this; in addition, calls on the Commission to ensure that the annual report on the protection of Fundamental Rights in the EU includes full and comprehensive information on the incidence of homophobic hate crimes and violence in Member States;

8.  Calls on all Member States to take any other action they deem appropriate in the fight against homophobia, sexual orientation discrimination and to promote and implement the principle of equality in their society and legal order;

9.  Welcomes steps taken in several Member States recently to improve the position of LGBT people and decides to organise a seminar for the exchange of good practices on the 17th of May (International Day against Homophobia);

10.  Reiterates its request that the European Commission put forward proposals  guaranteeing the freedom of movement of Union citizens and their family members and registered partners of either gender, as mentioned in the European Parliaments´ resolution on the Future of the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice of 14 October 2004;

11.  Calls on Member States concerned to finally fully recognise homosexuals as targets and victims of the Nazi regime;

12.  Asks its President to forward this resolution to the Commission and to the Governments of the Member States and candidate and applicant countries.


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