ILGA Europe has released its ‘Rainbow Europe Map’ showing a worrying setback in some countries and a general standstill with regards to the rights of LGBTI people.
The map ranks 49 European countries and their respective legal and policy practices for LGBTI people from 0%, meaning a total lack of policies that are favourable to the community (serious human rights’ violations, discrimination) to 100%, which would be the ideal score with regards to the respect for human rights and full equality.
The map shows an important lack of progress in the recognition of rights in this last year of the pandemic. According to the report, the Covid-19 pandemic and its consequences have highlighted the gaps in regards to the realities experienced by LGBTI people in Europe and Central Asia. The report also identifies a strong increase in hate and abusive speech against LGBTI people, especially because the pandemic made them more vulnerable.
According to the report, there has been a negative trend in Austria, Croatia, Finland, Hungary, Lithuania, Russia, Slovakia and the United Kingdom, and the situation has stagnated in Andorra, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Georgia, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Sweden. Percentagewise, in Europe, the lowest ranking countries are Monaco, San Marino and Liechtenstein with 11%, 13% and 19% respectively, while in the EU, the lowest ranking are Poland, with 13%, Romania (13%) and Italy (22%). If we look to the east, the situation is very worrying in Turkey (4%), Russia (10%), Belarus (12%) and the Ukraine (18%).
ILGA Europe, in its report, denounces that there’s been a substantial increase in hate speech, by both official sources and also in the media and social media. The trend of some political figures and institutions launching verbal attacks and pointing out LGBTI persons has spread and increased considerably in countries like Albania, Azerbaijan, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Italy, Kosovo, Latvia, Moldova, North Macedonia, Poland, Russia, Slovakia and Turkey. Religious leaders have also spread hate speech in Belarus, Greece, Slovakia, Turkey and the Ukraine and, in this case, many of them blamed the pandemic directly on LGBTI persons.
As for hate speech on social media, the situation is especially worrying in Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Malta, Montenegro, Russia and Turkey; this is also true for the general media in Slovenia and the Ukraine.
In states with a high level of progress such as Ireland (53%), the Netherlands (63%), Belgium (74%), Portugal (68%), Spain (65%) and the United Kingdom (64%), the progress made has come to a halt and there’s been an increase in hate speech at a political level and on social media. However, as the report also says, courts and government institutions have also started to become aware of this growing trend and are starting to discuss regulating on-line hate speech.
Rainbow Europe, is ILGA Europe’s annual benchmarking tool that includes the Rainbow Map, and Index and national recommendations. ILGA Europe have produced them since 2009 to illustrate the legal and policy situation of LGBTI people in Europe.