On 17 May, on the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT), the European Union reaffirmed its strong commitment to respect, protect and promote the full and equal enjoyment of human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) persons.
“Everyone is born free and equal in dignity and rights,” says the declaration by the High Representative Josep Borrell on behalf of the EU, issued on 16 May.
“Around the world, individuals continue to face violence, exclusion, and discrimination on a daily basis, because of their real or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity or sex characteristics,” says the declaration. “The EU remains particularly worried that in 69 countries consensual same-sex relationships are criminalised, with 11 of them retaining the death penalty as a legal punishment for homosexuality”.
Borrell notes that the COVID-19 pandemic has led to even higher levels of violence and discrimination against LGBTI persons, including domestic violence, hate speech online and offline, and hate crimes, as well as stigma and discrimination in accessing health services. Moreover, the pandemic has led to a shrinking civic space and an increase in arbitrary arrests and detentions, physical attacks and psychological trauma for human rights defenders protecting the rights of LGBTI persons. “These acts are unacceptable, and the EU stresses the importance of ending their impunity,” says the declaration.
On 17 May, the United Nations system in Georgia, the Delegation of the European Union to Georgia, the Embassies of European and other countries to Georgia, the Head of the Council of Europe Office in Georgia, and the Head of the EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia also issued a joint statement expressing their support for and solidarity with the LGBTIQ+ community in Georgia. It mentions that although Georgia has shown progress in combating discrimination and homophobia towards LGBTIQ+ persons, they continue to face bias, stigma, diminished opportunities in political, social and economic inclusion, as well as experience violent hate incidents and crimes.
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