by Rex Wockner
The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe plans to issue a formal declaration in support of GLBT rights and to engage the entire organization in combating discrimination against GLBT people.
Activists called the move groundbreaking. The committee is composed of the foreign ministers of the CoE’s 47 member nations.
The ministers will address the need to ensure respect for the human rights of GLBT people, instruct an intergovernmental expert committee to examine measures to avoid discrimination against gay couples, and instruct all committees involved in intergovernmental cooperation to propose specific actions to strengthen GLBT equality.
“Much of the credit for this great step forward goes to LGBT human rights defenders in Central and Eastern Europe,” said Nigel Warner, adviser to the CoE for the European Region of the International Lesbian and Gay Association.
“Their courageous work in advocating for LGBT rights has revealed the appalling extent of homophobia and transphobia in many countries, and shocked the Council of Europe into taking action,” Warner said.