International human rights organisations, and more specifically those defending LGBTI rights, show their concerns about how some states are systematically violating human rights, and others are rolling back some of these rights.
Article 1 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union states that “human dignity is inviolable. It must be respected and protected”. Based on this first principle the fundamental rights are developed in the states of the Union.
In recent years, however, the rights of LGBTI people have been at risk in some member states that are adopting legislation that violates their rights and that contravenes the Magna Carta of the EU, especially with regards to article 21 and the right to non-discrimination.
ILGA Europe has been denouncing these practices for months, especially in the cases of Hungary and Poland. Last September, ILGA Europe, together with two Polish LGBTI Rights organisations - KPH (Campaign Against Homophobia) and the Fundacja Równości – submitted a complaint to the European Commission on the so-called LGBT-free areas that have been applied in more than 100 municipalities in Poland.
The three organisations have requested, in an open letter to the President of the European Commission, Ursula Von der Leyen, to put an end to this discrimination. After Von der Leyen’s State of the Union speech, this letter was sent to her, highlighting that “events in Poland are of great concern, but at the same time they are only the tip of the iceberg”.
International human rights organisations, and more specifically those defending LGBTI rights, are publicly sharing their concerns with what is happening in Europe. Some states are systematically violating human rights, and others are rolling back some of these rights, and the Union is doing nothing to defend the rights enshrined in the EU’s charter of rights.
In EU member states such as Poland and Hungary, governments are clearly violating the fundamental rights of LGBTI people, but also in Bulgaria, Slovenia, Slovakia and Rumania the political forces are embracing LGBTI-phobic discourse and the situation of this collective is becoming more and more worrying.
Von der Leyen highlighted in her speech the need to create a Union where there is no place for racism and discrimination. It is in this sense that the signing organisations request the European Commission to “stand strong on the principles established in the Charter of Fundamental Rights and EU treaties and to clearly show that it will not tolerate violations of fundamental rights, including LGBT rights”.
The detention of activists and the uncertainty and insecurity of LGBTI people in these states is obvious. The fragility of consensus in the EU, at a time of a global crisis that is generated by the pandemic, is clearly damaging the exercise of rights in basic areas as the President of the Commission highlighted in her speech: “recent months are also a reminder of how fragile the Rule of Law can be. We have the duty to remain vigilant at all times to care for it and strengthen it”.
The European Commission is committed to launching its LGBTI equality strategy and Von der Leyen said so by openly criticising the LGBTI-free areas saying they are “areas without humanity and have no place in our Union. I will not rest while building a Union of equality, a Union where we can all be who we are and love who we love, without fear of recrimination or discrimination. Because being yourself is not about ideology, it is your identity and nobody can ever take that away from you”.