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Since his appointment as Secretary General, Thorbjørn Jagland has spoken out strongly against homophobia and discrimination aimed at lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
Most recently, the Secretary General made known his concern following the violent incidents and arrests which marred the Belgrade gay pride parade on 10 October.Last March, the Council of Europe’s 47 member states committed to fighting discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
They accepted proposals stressing the right to life, free assembly, security and protection from violence and agreed the need for effective policies to tackle hate crimes, hate speech and discrimination in housing, health, education and employment.
Law-makers were called on to “ensure respect for the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons, to promote tolerance towards them [and] ensure that victims of discrimination have access to effective legal remedies before a national authority.”
Other measures given the green light by Council of Europe member states included “sanctions for infringements and the provision of adequate reparation for victims of discrimination.”
Secretary General Jagland welcomed the recommendation as “an important achievement, being the first legal instrument in the world dealing specifically with one of the most long-lasting and difficult forms of discrimination to combat.”
He added: “The recommendation is an expression of the Council of Europe’s commitment to equality for all and respect for the dignity of all. I invite all member states to make all the necessary efforts to implement this recommendation."
Parliamentary Assembly, Report on Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity
Strasbourg, 15 June 2010, Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland discusses advance of LGBT rights with ILGA-Europe
Former Committee of Experts on Discrimination on Grounds of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (DH-LGBT) – 2009