Study visit to the Council of Europe, 24-27 January 2011

From 24 untill 27 January ILGA-Europe organised a study visit to the Council of Europe for 6 LGBT human rights defenders from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia who are partners in Step Up! Stronger LGBT movements for equality in the Western Balkans project.

The study visit aimed to familiarise the activists to the work of the Council of Europe, to explain how various Council of Europe institutions defend human rights and can support them in their work. It also aimed to give the activists direct exposure to the institutions and opportunity to raise the human rights concerns of LGBT people in their respective countries with relevant officials.

During the study visit the activists were given an overview of Council of Europe and the history of LGBT rights at the CoE, were introduced to the Committee of Ministers’ monitoring activities and to the work of the PACE Monitoring Committee. ILGA-Europe also presented to the activists the Committee of Ministers 2010 Recommendation on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Discrimination and discussed with them the role of LGBT human rights defenders on monitoring the countries implementation of the Recommendation. ILGA-Europe also discussed with the participants the importance of strategic litigations and shared its strategy on it.

In addition to the above sessions, the activists have met with the office of the Commissioner for Human Rights, with the secretariat of the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) and the Secretariat of the CoE and provided them with up to date information on the human rights situation of LGBT people in their countries. They have also met with the registry of the European Court of Human Rights who explained the application procedure before the European Court of Human Rights and how key ECHR standards had been used in cases on LGBT issues.

The activist also attended the speech by the President of Serbia, Boris Tadic in the Parliamentary Assembly sessions.


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