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ALDE condemns homophobia and calls for better EU anti-discrimination laws

May 18, 2006 11:29 AM
Graham Watson MEP

Graham Watson MEP

Marking International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO), the European Parliament organised a hearing yesterday, which included both victims and experts to tackle the rise in homophobia. Several Members of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats - the EU Parliament group of which the Liberal Democrats are the UK member - took active part in this event.

Jean-Marie Cavada (UDF, France), Chairman of Parliament's Civil Liberties committee said: "It is essential to fight against homophobia and any form of discrimination based on sexual orientation. The

committee that I have the honour to chair has repeatedly taken a firm stance against all kinds of discriminations. Members of the European Parliament collectively urge European institutions and EU Member States to take initiatives to fight this scourge. If we want the European project to be successful, all citizens must be placed on an equal footing before the law. "

According to ALDE leader Graham Watson (Lib Dem, UK), European Member States must remain at the forefront in the fight against homophobia. "Whilst the EU has promoted anti-discrimination directives, there is still much to be done on the question of recognition of same-sex couples", he said. "At the international level, homosexuality still remains a crime in many States and homosexuals are persecuted- if not executed. Organising a hearing with experts on the International Day Against Homophobia is an important way to raise awareness among citizens and governments. That is why Liberals and Democrats fully support this initiative".

Sophie In't Veld (D66, Netherlands), Vice-President of the LGBT Intergroup and co-organiser of the seminar, declared: "Gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transsexuals are still perceived and treated as second class citizens. Despite statements of support from Justice Commissioner Franco Frattini and Social Affairs Commissioner Vladimir Spidla, there remains lots of room for improvement in field of sexual orientation discrimination. Same-sex couples do not benefit from legal recognition in all Member States, which creates the additional discrimination of freedom of movement for all the EU citizens concerned".