Amnesty report slams European Union for failing to combat anti-LGBT violence

Amnesty InternationalHuman rights advocates at an Amnesty International demonstration.

Amnesty InternationalHuman rights advocates at an Amnesty International demonstration.

LONDON — The European Union (EU) and its member-states are failing to tackle homophobic and transphobic hate crimes and fail to protect all individuals from discrimination, harassment and violence, Amnesty International said in a report published Wednesday.

The report, entitled “Because of who I am: Homophobia, Transphobia and Hate Crime in Europe,” highlights gaps in the legislation of many European countries where sexual orientation and gender identity are not explicitly included as grounds on which hate crimes can be perpetrated.

Amnesty InternationalHuman rights advocates at an Amnesty International demonstration.

The report also notes the inadequacy of current EU standards on hate crimes for tackling homophobic and transphobic violence.

In the report, Amnesty International singles out EU member states Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Latvia, and states aspiring to join the union, including Ukraine, Moldova, Turkey, Macedonia and Montenegro, as all having gaps in legislation that fail to protect their LGBT citizens.

In addition, Greece and Croatia, which have laws against hate crimes based on perceived sexual orientation and gender identity, were criticized failing to properly implement them.

Out of the 28 member states of the EU, only 13 EU countries collect data on anti-gay hate crimes, and only five collect data on transphobic hate crimes.

Just four EU member states have provided information of these crimes to the Organization fro Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Office for Democratic Institutions and Human rights in 2011, the report indicates.

According to Amnesty, most of the homophobic and transphobic violence is not reported to the police, often because of a fear of institutionalized homophobia and transphobia.

In other cases, gay people do not report attacks against them because they are not openly gay and are afraid that their peers and families will find out.

“Hate-motivated violence has a particularly damaging and long-term effect on victims,” said Marco Perolini, Amnesty International’s expert on discrimination in Europe and Central Asia. “Yet, the EU as well as many of its members do not recognize crimes based on the perceived sexual orientation or gender identity as hate crimes in their legislation.

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“This is unacceptable because sexual orientation and gender identity are protected grounds of discrimination in international human rights law,” he said. “The EU and its member states cannot fulfill their obligations to combat discrimination without adopting appropriate measures against all forms of hate motivated violence.”

“The existing double standards convey the idea that some forms of violence deserve less attention and less protection than others,” added Perolini. “That’s unacceptable for a European Union that prides itself on promoting equality and inclusion.”

The full Amnesty International Report is here (PDF).

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