Council of Europe adopts recommendation on measures to combat discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity

Via the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers (link here):

Flag of the Council of EuropeRecommendation CM/Rec(2010)5 of the Committee of Ministers to member states on measures to combat discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity

(Adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 31 March 2010 at the 1081st meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies)

The Committee of Ministers […] Recommends that member states:

  1. examine existing legislative and other measures, keep them under review, and collect and analyse relevant data, in order to monitor and redress any direct or indirect discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity;
  2. ensure that legislative and other measures are adopted and effectively implemented to combat discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity, to ensure respect for the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons and to promote tolerance towards them;
  3. ensure that victims of discrimination are aware of and have access to effective legal remedies before a national authority, and that measures to combat discrimination include, where appropriate, sanctions for infringements and the provision of adequate reparation for victims of discrimination;
  4. be guided in their legislation, policies and practices by the principles and measures contained in the appendix to this recommendation;
  5. ensure by appropriate means and action that this recommendation, including its appendix, is translated and disseminated as widely as possible.

The Recommendations establish how international human rights standards should be applied and contain specific measures for Member States on how they should improve their legislation, policies and practices. Additionally, the Recommendations require Member States to ensure that national human rights structures are clearly mandated to address discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. They also encourage Member States to address multiple discrimination experienced by LGBT people.

That 47 European countries have unanimously agreed to adopt such a comprehensive list of recommendations through common action is without precedent: it’s the world’s first intergovernmental agreement of this nature. The potentially far-reaching implications of this are hard to imagine but do offer a significant hope for the future; now we need to see some practical action to begin implementing these adopted recommendations Europe-wide as soon as possible.