The Working Group on Human Rights of the EU – COHOM has adopted a toolkit to promote the Enjoyment of all Human Rights by Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender – LGBT people. The LGBT-toolkit provides EU-staff as well as Civil Society in third countries with concrete tools and suggestions on how to protect and actively support the Human Rights of LGBT people.
The toolkit entails a check-list with concrete questions identifying the most crucial Human Rights areas for LGBT-people worldwide. During the presentation it was stressed that the toolkit is a “living instrument” and that much attention will be put on its implementation, e.g. by including LGBT-issues in the Human Rights training for EU-diplomats.
Transgender Europe – TGEU – has been invited to the presentation and previously addressed COHOM on issues transgender people face worldwide.
Richard Köhler, TGEU-Steering Committee member says: “We are impressed by the pace and comprehensiveness the toolkit was designed with. The toolkit provides the nuts and bolts to a strong political commitment of the EU: trans issues are human rights issues and this position is non-negotiable. Though, transgender issues are not yet fully represented in its complexity, TGEU will make its contribution to have them comprehensively covered.”
The need for it is obvious. “There are many countries, in which certain laws are specifically used to persecute and arrest trans people: so-called anti-crossdressing laws, laws that do not allow gender reassignment and public nuisance laws to name only a few. There are also countries, in which trans people are being subjected to harassment and physical violence directly from police officers or under their approval. Furthermore our research shows an increase in the numbers of reported murders of trans people in recent years.” says Dr. Carsten Balzer, head of Transgender Europe’s “Transrespect versus Transphobia Worldwide” research project.
LGBT-Human Rights activists are strongly encouraged to use and promote the LGBT-toolkit.
Kati Leinonen, from the Human Rights Unit of the Council of the EU, stressed that input from NGOs and activists is very important, so they can raise it in their work with Third Countries. Leinonen emphasized, that though there might be EU-structures in the countries, civil society might have valuable knowledge about instances, they would never hear of otherwise.
More information on TGEU and the “Transrespect versus Transphobia Worldwide” research project can be found here: www.tgeu.org www.transrespect-transphobia.org
The toolkit is available here: http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cmsUpload/st11179.en10.pdf