Tag: European News


1 Song for Equality and Peace by Craymo

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<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a3JHZ23suKo">https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a3JHZ23suKo</a>
(GayWebSource.com) Orlando, FL 1/1/2017

Indie gay Orlando singer/songwriter Craymo releases an inspirational new music video for the re-release single of his reggae pop song One Love One World (We Are One). One Love One World is a heartfelt song promoting world peace, equality, love, tolerance, brotherhood and human rights.

With all of the recent incidents of terrorism, mass shootings and senseless killing of innocent people and children, Craymo wants to start 2016 with a message and vision of love for the world. The music video begins with children in Pang Liu Village in China who were taught English using One Love One World as a learning aid.

It is a thought provoking message of the power of a song to change people’s lives for the better. Craymo says “let’s all put our hands together to help make this world a better place for all of us.”

The music video is co-directed by Craymo along with Nathan McMahan of August Moon Productions. The Director of Photography is Brent Reynolds, also of August Moon Productions and was edited by Jason Barnes, all local central Florida film talents. One Love One World (We Are One) is co-written by Craig Stephen Raymo and Brandon Jarrett of Moho Productions. The song is produced by Brandon Jarrett.

One Love One World (We Are One) world premiere music video is released January 1, 2016 on YouTube and all social media.

One Love One World is from Craymo’s CD Cosmos available on iTunes

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/one-love-one-world/id580366397?i=580366635

and CDBaby.com

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Where are you Aeryn M. J. Gillern ? – A Mums search for her missing son

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Aeryn M. J. Gillern was an openly gay man that was 34 years old at the time and had been working for UNIDO in Vienna for approximately 4 1/2 years, when he went missing.

At the time Kathryn Gilleran was the Director of the Cortland County SPCA *1 – she has previously been working at the Ithaca Police Department for 21 years, when she got the message that she needed to go home because a very important message was waiting for her there.

It was Aeryn’s workplace, UNIDO HR Department that had called and left a message that her son was missing and that she needed to call them right away – UNIDO had reacted because it was unlike Aeryn not to come to work or not to report that he was sick. No one could get hold of him.

In September of 2007 Aeryn came home to visit his mum for 10 days and they even planned that she should come to Austria in beginning of December for early Christmas celebrations and Aeryn convinced his mother to put her house on the marked so she could move to Austria for a while after she had sold the house. On September 19, 2007 when Aeryn flew back to Vienna, it was the last time Kathryn saw her son, and the last time she talked to her son was the evening of October 27, 2007.

UNIDO tried to file a Missing Person Report, but the police declined it because Aeryn was not an Austrian Citizen and they weren’t required to do so. UNIDO told her that Aeryn’s partner and upstairs neighbour had been to the Police twice, that the Police were aware that Aeryn was gay, as they had asked his partner how he was related, and how the Police has made homophobic remarks to her son’s partner. UNIDO told her that UNIDO had contacted the Austrian Foreign Ministry, who had interceded with the Police and instructed them to accept the report. That on Thursday, November 1st, 2007, UNIDO representative along with her son’s partner and neighbour would meet with the police and officially report him missing.

On Thursday, November 1st, 2007, she flew from her home in Cortland, New York into a nightmare that is still part of their everyday life. Rahman  joined her in Vienna on November 9th in the search for his brother.

Aeryn M. J. Gillern

Aeryn M. J. Gillern have been missing since 2007

A Mum to a gay son meets homophobia

When you meet the police in this kind of situation you think that they will meet you with compassion, understanding and respect in addition to that they should have the “know how” to meet relatives in missing person cases. And since Kathryn has the experience working at the Ithaca Police Department she knows what that should look like. But Kathryn didn’t get the compassion, understanding and respect instead she experienced homophobia, lies and disrespect by the police in Vienna.

The police had a ‘watertight’ theory that Aeryn committed ‘spontaneous suicide’ because he had discovered that he was HIV positive, but she didn’t believe her son was HIV positive or had spontaneous killed himself. When she got Aeryn’s belongings and returned  home to Aeryn’s apartment she needed to sit down and relax before she could look through his belongings that she just had got from the police. When she after a while managed to look through Aeryn’s belongings she found the result of a newly taken HIV test -dated October 29th, 2007, the date Aeryn disappeared, and it said he was HIV Negative. If it hadn’t before that – the police amateurish ‘watertight’ theory started to crack. One of the key elements in the police’s theory about Aeryn’s disappearance was based on false facts.

Aeryn’s belonging has been found at a Kaiserburndl sauna near Stephansplatz and according the information given from the sauna – it had been a fight and someone got injured and sent to hospital ( but there are no records that police or ambulance has been there at all that evening) – that resulted in that Aeryn running out of the Kaiserburndl sauna naked and leaving his belongings behind – ( about the fight there are conflicting information – some says it wasn’t any fight).

The Austrian police acted like they couldn’t speak English and when UNIDO translator asked if the police could talk a bit and break so the translator could translate to English – the police just replied no they wouldn’t do that. Later on the police revealed they hadn’t any problems understanding English or speak it. The sad part is that UNIDO wouldn’t let translator testifying to what happen during Kathryn and Rahman meeting with the Austrian police since they weren’t there as professional translators.

In the documentary Gone, Kathryn tells about when she was invited in to Kaiserburndl sauna and got a guided tour :

As her “tour” winds its way through the labyrinth of lounges, bars and baths inside the sauna, the Kaiserbrundl’s manager suddenly drops, crying and running his hands over the marble floor. When Kathy asks her translator what has happened to upset the owner, she replies that this is the last place he ever saw Aeryn.

“What happened?” Kathy asks as he continues to cry and rub the floor.

“He doesn’t want to talk about it,” comes the reply. “What happened to your son here doesn’t matter. Your son is gone.”

The answer – “what happened to your son doesn’t matter” – echoes throughout the rest of the film.

According to the police they had a witness : “bald-headed man” had possibly been sighted floating in the Danube River by a fisherman, but the Vienna police changed the story frequently, from someone hearing a splash to “maybe someone heard a scream around that time, but maybe not.” This seems to be some kind of a cover up by the police.

The Police repeatedly telling Kathryn that they had scuba divers on the scene and in the water. That they had dredged the canal. That they had a boat in the water. That they had a canine unit on the scene. That they received the call at 2020hrs and cleared at 2050hrs, and yet they still accomplished all that in 30 minutes, the police claimed in 2007.

Stephansplatz is the high-end tourist and shopping district in Vienna – so lot of people are out and should have noticed Aeryn running completely naked, but no witnesses has come forward until Der Falter Investigative Reporter Joseph Gepp runs couple of articles about the case and he gets an e-mail from a student that saying that he and his girlfriend had seen Aeryn running naked – at the time they thought it was kind of prank – but Aeryn had stopped for a second and looked and them – they describing it like they have never seen a man looking so afraid before. They had reported this to the police and the police has taken their statement, but the police says the witnesses are lying about that. The male witness was willingly to say this with full name and a picture in the newspaper – that is big deal in Austria – you don’t criticising the police.  So Joseph Gepp and Kathryn Gilleran believes the witnesses.

One year anniversary

On October 30, 2008, while she was in Vienna for the one year anniversary of Aeryn’s disappearance,  Kathryn met with members of the Green Party of Parliament.  On December 11, 2008, they filed an official Inquest with the Minister of the Interior questioning the Police Investigation as well as the behaviour of the police. Minister of the Interior replied with the police’s answers on February 10th, 2009 on all questions from the Green Party. To no one’s surprise the police had just cleared them self from any wrong doing.

After 15 1/2 months of the Police repeatedly telling Kathryn that they had scuba divers on the scene and in the water. That they had dredged the canal. That they had a boat in the water. That they had a canine unit on the scene. That they received the call at 2020hrs and cleared at 2050hrs, and yet still accomplished all that in 30 minutes. They finally say that the Fire Department was in charge of the scene, and that there were no divers, no boat, no dredging the canal, and no canines.

Times goes by – still no answers – 2013 – 2014

The Ombudsman Board has finished their review, which began in November 2013, thanks to Der Falter Investigative Reporter Joseph Gepp says Kathryn. Their findings were forwarded to the Minister of the Interior, and then given to the (SoKo) ‘Sonderkommission’ Cold Case Squad of the Austrian Police. On 12.06.2014 the disappearance of Aeryn M. J. Gillern case was reopen by the the (SoKo) ‘Sonderkommission’ Cold Case Squad of the Austrian Police.

Kathryn met with Cold Case Squad (Sonderkommission) in Vienna the beginning of October 2014. Since she had hear from them once – they sent her an e-mail in mid January 2015.  She wrote them back with many questions but hasn’t heard from them. “It is frustrating being so far from them, but I do know from other people that they are interviewing people”, she says.

How was the meeting with Cold Case Squad (‘Sonderkommission’) ?

“The meeting with the Cold Case Squad in October 2014 was a good experience, in that they were professional, courteous and showed compassion.  But, it was like starting the grieving process all over again. Like loosing Aeryn twice, if that makes any sense.” she adds.

LGBT Community and the Austrian police

I was a bit chocked when I heard about the treatment you got from the Austrian Police back in 2007 – I didn’t think Austrian Police was in the 1980’s, any comments to that Kathryn ?

I was stunned by the way the police treated myself and Rahman. If it had stopped with the Investigators that were my initial contacts, I would say that it was not representative of the entire police department. But, as I pushed harder, and started going up the ranks, from Investigators, to a Lieutenant, and then up to a Chief, and then to General Maher, and it continued, it was clear that this behavior, this mentality, ran extremely deep.

Police Departments will circle the wagons, so to speak, to protect their own whenever they can. I was told by Genral Maher and Lt. Kovar that I shouldn’t be upset about what was said about my son as the one Investigator was “an old man, so what does it matter”. They made excuses for all of the remarks and for their own. They said that I should be angry at Aeryn for going to a gay sauna. When all else fails, blame the victim.

Do you think the homophobia within the Austrian Police has changed in 7 Years ?

Do I think it is different 7 years later ? My guess is probably not a whole lot. I hate to stereotype but police departments historically are the last bastion of a male dominated work force. They exude and encourage macho behavior. Even with more departments hiring more women and minorities to better reflect the community they serve, the US versus THEM mentality is strong and is something that rookie police officers get spoon fed. US are the police, THEM is everyone else. That doesn’t leave a lot of room for inclusivity. I don’t believ from talking to police there that it is any different from here in the States.

My understanding is that General Maher is now the head of the Police Department in Vienna, so I don’t think there is someone in a position of power who thinks change, other than the window dressing kind, is necessary, she adds.

What about the LGBT community and the Austrian Police ? 

In talking with so many of Aeryn’s friends in Vienna it’s seems that the attitude is that as long as the police leave them alone, they won’t complain about the police. The police don’t bother the sauna patrons, they don’t bother the participants in the Gay Parade or the Life Ball festivities. So there is this unspoken truce. They will tell you that they don’t trust the police but they also don’t complain about them. HOSI WIEN, the Vienna Homosexual Initiative, wouldn’t touch Aeryn’s case with a ten foot pole when I first approached them. Part of it was because he was American, so they just didn’t care. Since the documentary they have spoken up a bit on Aeryn’s behalf.

Vienna certainly appears to be gay friendly, as long as the police aren’t involved, everything is ok, she says.

Without Investigative Reporter Joseph Gepp help and investigation – the Aeryn’s disappearance probably been a forgotten case in Austria, says Kathryn in the end of the interview.

Your Help is Needed

Kathryn and Aeryn’s brother Rahman have since 2007 been looking for the truth – what happened to Aeryn October 29th, 2007 in Vienna, Austria – as you can imagine they have lot of questions that they want to have an answer to. So if you know something and then bare in mind – even little piece of information can become the big rock that point the investigation in the right direction – if you think your information is significant let the Sonderkommission (Cold Case Squad for the Austrian Police Department) decide if it is or not – your piece of information might be the piece that they are missing from a big puzzle of information.  So if you have any information you think might help the Sonderkommission with their investigation – please contact Federal Office of Criminal Investigation in Austria (Bundeskriminalamts) or contact Kathryn Gilleran on www.aeryngillern.com and she can forward your contact details to the Sonderkommission.

(You are also helping by spreading this story in social media – all over the world – since it might be a tourist visiting Vienna in 2007 that holds the key for a breakthrough – that hasn’t heard about Aeryn disappearance or to remind the person(s) that knows what happen on  October 29th, 2007 in Vienna, Austria, where ever they are in the world – the story about Aeryn M. J. Gillern disappearance is not going away anytime soon.)

Special thanks to Kathryn Gilleran taking the time to contribute to this story – without her it wouldn’t be a story.

*1. The Cortland Community SPCA is dedicated to ensuring the best possible quality of life for animals and to promoting respect and reverence for them.
* Different spelling of the last name – Kathryn has taken back the original spelling of her father’s family name after Aeryn went missing, so that’s why the spelling are different to Aeryn’s last name.
* Investigative Reporter Joseph Gepp are now working for Profil magazine in Vienna

Photos copyrights owned by Kathryn Gilleran

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Malta adopts ground-breaking gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics law

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The law introduces the right for individuals to determine their gender identity, without first having to undergo medical tests, forced sterilisation, a forced divorce or a mental health diagnosis. A simple declaration based on self-determination before a notary is sufficient.

11 EU Member States still require sterilisation for legal gender recognition. 4 EU countries do not offer the possibility to change the registered gender at all.

The law also introduces the right to bodily integrity and physical autonomy for all persons. This includes that so called ‘normalising’ surgeries on intersex babies is prohibited and that non-medically necessary treatment on the sex characteristics of a person without informed consent is unlawful.

Genital “normalisation” surgery of intersex infants is widespread, despite not being medically necessary.

Furthermore, the possibility for parents to  postpone the entry of a gender marker on the child’s birth certificate exists, until the child’s gender identity is determined. This allows time for an informed decision.

Maltese Member of the Intergroup on LGBTI Rights, Miriam Dalli MEP, reacted: “I am very proud to be from a country that has from now on the most comprehensive and respectful laws when it comes to the rights of trans and intersex people.”

“No one should be declared mentally ill, undergo forced surgery or being forced to go through a divorce, in order to be recognised as who they truly are. I sincerely hope that the whole of Europe will follow Malta’s example, and that such degrading practices will be issues of the past.”

Sirpa Pietikainen MEP, Vice-President of the Intergroup on LGBTI Rights, added: “It is impressive how thoughtful and comprehensive this law was drafted. It includes all important aspects for trans and intersex persons, based on self-determination and autonomy: from recognition, to legal procedures, to inclusion in existing non-discrimination laws.”

“I’m also glad to see governing and opposition parties agreed on the final bill, resulting in a unanimous vote for this landmark Act.”

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European Parliament urges Kyrgyzstan to drop anti-LGBTI bill

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The Kyrgyz bill closely resembles the Russian anti-propaganda law, but foresees harsher punishments: persons found ‘guilty’ face up to one year imprisonment.

The European Parliament – acknowledging general democratic progress in the country – calls on the Kyrgyz Parliament to reject the bill, and urges politicians to refrain from hate speech against LGBTI people.

Furthermore, the Parliament supports the recommendations by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), which highlight Kyrgyzstan should combat all forms of discrimination and violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity (see 15.24, 15.25, 15.26).

Earlier, the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OCHCR) already urged Kyrgyzstan to reject the bill.

Relations between the EU and Kyrgyzstan are organised through the 1999 Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, which includes a clause allowing sanctions in case of human rights breaches.

Ulrike Lunacek MEP, Co-President of the LGBTI Intergroup and co-author of the resolution, reacted: “If this bill is passed, anyone who speaks positively about LGBTI issues can be imprisoned. This is an attack on the freedom of expression, the freedom of assembly and the right to non-discrimination for the Kyrgyz people, in particular LGBTI people.”

“If the Kyrgyz parliament is serious about its constitution which protects human and civil rights, it should reject this bill.”

Beatriz Becerra MEP, Member of the LGBTI Intergroup and co-author of the resolution, added: “In just one day, over 34 000 people have called on us to denounce this extreme anti-propaganda bill. This sends a strong signal to us, the Commission and the External Action Service to up the pressure on Kyrgyzstan to prevent this bill from turning into law.”

“We have all seen the horrible consequences of the Russian anti-propaganda bill: a clampdown on NGOs, forbidden prides and organised hate crime against LGBTI people. We urge Kyrgyzstan to not to follow the path of state-sponsored homophobia, and unreservedly support and promote the fundamental rights of all its citizens.”

The bill passed the first reading on 15 October 2014, but needs an additional two readings and presidential approval before turning into law.

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European Parliament urges Kyrgyzstan to drop anti-LGBTI bill

(GayWebSource.com - Gay News & Press Network) - Posted by mysocalledgaylife.com

The Kyrgyz bill closely resembles the Russian anti-propaganda law, but foresees harsher punishments: persons found ‘guilty’ face up to one year imprisonment.

The European Parliament – acknowledging general democratic progress in the country – calls on the Kyrgyz Parliament to reject the bill, and urges politicians to refrain from hate speech against LGBTI people.

Furthermore, the Parliament supports the recommendations by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), which highlight Kyrgyzstan should combat all forms of discrimination and violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity (see 15.24, 15.25, 15.26).

Earlier, the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OCHCR) already urged Kyrgyzstan to reject the bill.

Relations between the EU and Kyrgyzstan are organised through the 1999 Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, which includes a clause allowing sanctions in case of human rights breaches.

Ulrike Lunacek MEP, Co-President of the LGBTI Intergroup and co-author of the resolution, reacted: “If this bill is passed, anyone who speaks positively about LGBTI issues can be imprisoned. This is an attack on the freedom of expression, the freedom of assembly and the right to non-discrimination for the Kyrgyz people, in particular LGBTI people.”

“If the Kyrgyz parliament is serious about its constitution which protects human and civil rights, it should reject this bill.”

Beatriz Becerra MEP, Member of the LGBTI Intergroup and co-author of the resolution, added: “In just one day, over 34 000 people have called on us to denounce this extreme anti-propaganda bill. This sends a strong signal to us, the Commission and the External Action Service to up the pressure on Kyrgyzstan to prevent this bill from turning into law.”

“We have all seen the horrible consequences of the Russian anti-propaganda bill: a clampdown on NGOs, forbidden prides and organised hate crime against LGBTI people. We urge Kyrgyzstan to not to follow the path of state-sponsored homophobia, and unreservedly support and promote the fundamental rights of all its citizens.”

The bill passed the first reading on 15 October 2014, but needs an additional two readings and presidential approval before turning into law.

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EU Court: verification sexual orientation asylum seeker must not infringe fundamental rights

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The case ended on the Court’s plate after Dutch authorities refused to grant asylum to three third-country nationals, who sought asylum on the basis of fear of persecution in their country of origin relating to their homosexuality. The Dutch Raad van State (Council of State) asked for a ruling on what limits are imposed by EU law regarding verification of applicants’ sexual orientation.

In its judgement, the Luxembourg-based Court states that while declarations by the applicant are the starting point of the assessment, they may require confirmation. However, in verifying the sexual orientation of the applicant, human dignity and the right for private and family life should be respected.

This means that failure to answer questions relating to stereotyped notions of homosexuality cannot be a sufficient reason to reject an applicant.

Also questions relating to the applicant’s sexual practices infringe the right to respect to private and family life, and are as such not in line with the Charter of Fundamental Rights.

Furthermore, submitting asylum seekers to certain ‘tests’ to proof their sexual orientation, would infringe human dignity and constitute a breach with the Charter.

Lastly, the Court ruled that late disclosure of an applicant’s sexual orientation should not affect the applicant’s credibility.

Sophie in ‘t Veld MEP, Vice-President of the Intergroup-designate on LGBTI rights, reacted: “I am very happy with the Courts’ ruling. We have repeatedly asked the European Commission to intervene when asylum seekers’ rights were infringed. In vain.”

“I hope in the future, the Commission and Member States will take their responsibility and defend fundamental rights, and not leave it to the courts.”

Dennis de Jong MEP, Vice-President of the Intergroup-designate on LGBTI rights, reacted: “I welcome this judgment by the Court of Justice which makes very clear that authorities should respect asylum seekers’ dignity when verifying their sexual orientation.”

“I am glad that asylum seekers will no longer be confronted with decisions based on stereotypes, prejudice and degrading tests, supposedly proving homosexuality. It is time for all Member States to move to verification methods respecting the fundamental rights of asylum seekers. This Court ruling is an important push in that direction.”

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EU Court: verification sexual orientation asylum seeker must not infringe fundamental rights

(GayWebSource.com - Gay News & Press Network) - Posted by mysocalledgaylife.com

The case ended on the Court’s plate after Dutch authorities refused to grant asylum to three third-country nationals, who sought asylum on the basis of fear of persecution in their country of origin relating to their homosexuality. The Dutch Raad van State (Council of State) asked for a ruling on what limits are imposed by EU law regarding verification of applicants’ sexual orientation.

In its judgement, the Luxembourg-based Court states that while declarations by the applicant are the starting point of the assessment, they may require confirmation. However, in verifying the sexual orientation of the applicant, human dignity and the right for private and family life should be respected.

This means that failure to answer questions relating to stereotyped notions of homosexuality cannot be a sufficient reason to reject an applicant.

Also questions relating to the applicant’s sexual practices infringe the right to respect to private and family life, and are as such not in line with the Charter of Fundamental Rights.

Furthermore, submitting asylum seekers to certain ‘tests’ to proof their sexual orientation, would infringe human dignity and constitute a breach with the Charter.

Lastly, the Court ruled that late disclosure of an applicant’s sexual orientation should not affect the applicant’s credibility.

Sophie in ‘t Veld MEP, Vice-President of the Intergroup-designate on LGBTI rights, reacted: “I am very happy with the Courts’ ruling. We have repeatedly asked the European Commission to intervene when asylum seekers’ rights were infringed. In vain.”

“I hope in the future, the Commission and Member States will take their responsibility and defend fundamental rights, and not leave it to the courts.”

Dennis de Jong MEP, Vice-President of the Intergroup-designate on LGBTI rights, reacted: “I welcome this judgment by the Court of Justice which makes very clear that authorities should respect asylum seekers’ dignity when verifying their sexual orientation.”

“I am glad that asylum seekers will no longer be confronted with decisions based on stereotypes, prejudice and degrading tests, supposedly proving homosexuality. It is time for all Member States to move to verification methods respecting the fundamental rights of asylum seekers. This Court ruling is an important push in that direction.”

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Slovak Constitutional Court decides homophobic referendum will go ahead

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The questions ended up at the Constitutional Court’s plate after President Andrej Kiska was faced with a citizen’s initiative, which received 400 000 signatures. The initiative was initiated by an organisation called Alliance for Family, and strongly supported by an American far-right evangelical organisation Alliance Defending Freedom.

The Constitutional Court ruled three out of four questions were admissible. One relates to the definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman, whereas a second seeks to ban adoption of children by “same-sex couples or groups.”

A third question that was deemed constitutional relates to sexuality education, and seeks to include opt-outs if parents do not agree with the content of the education.

Only a question seeking to prohibit any future same-sex registered partnerships was deemed unconstitutional.

Opponents of equality have used referendums since the 1990s to limit the rights of LGBT people, especially in the USA. They have traditionally mobilised enough human and financial resources to ensure outcomes reflect their views.

Co-President of the LGBTI Intergroup-designate Daniele Viotti MEP reacted: “I do not understand how the Constitutional Court ruled that these questions are in line with the Slovak Constitution, which specifically forbids referenda on issues of fundamental rights and liberties.”

“I hope that the sensible majority will stand up for the rights of minorities, and that the referendum will be rejected in the end.”

Vice-President of the LGBTI Intergroup-designate Sophie in ‘t Veld MEP, added: “This debate is not about Slovakia, but about EU’s fundamental rights, tolerance and equality. We may not turn a blind eye to religious organisations fuelling intolerance towards our very own EU citizens.”

“It is distasteful that after the Croatian referendum, we again face a referendum on eliminating the rights of fellow citizens. Such a process has no place in an enlightened continent like Europe.”

“After Social Democrats, supported by Christian Democrats, constitutionally banned possible future same-sex unions, Slovakia is on a slippery slope. I urge the Slovak people to stand up for the rights of their compatriots.”

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European Parliament condemns Russian clampdown on NGOs

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The resolution specifically addresses the recent actions to dissolve the 2009 Sakharov Prize winning Human Rights organisation Memorial.

Furthermore, it condemns the strengthened Foreign Agents Law.

In June 2014, Putin signed amendments to the law which allow the Ministry of Justice to register NGOs as “foreign agents” at their own discretion, without the organisations’ consent.

Organisations with this label, will be subjected to additional scrutiny by the government.

Under this law, hundreds of NGOs have been targeted, among which many organisations working on LGBTI rights.

Vice-President of the Intergroup-designate on LGBTI Rights Dennis de Jong MEP, reacted: “LGBT people, and those who defend their rights, are under threat through legal efforts attempting to curtail their rights, as well as an increasingly homophobic climate in which violence against LGBT people goes unpunished.”

“Russia needs to be held accountable on these issues. I urge the European Commission and the External Action Service to continue raising these discriminatory and suppressive laws in their relations with Russia, to make sure that freedom of organisation for LGBT people is taken seriously.”

Vice-President of the Intergroup-designate on LGBTI Rights, Tanja Fajon MEP, added: “Organisations defending the rights of LGBT people are under attack in Russia, both by the Foreign Agents Law and the Anti-Propaganda Law.”

“For this reason, it is absurd that the ECR sought to delete just the reference to LGBTI activists in its text. This shows how out of touch their group has become with the real world. Thankfully, a reasonable majority voted to keep LGBTI activists in the resolution.”

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Juncker I Commission – Strong promise of a European Union respectful of LGBTI rights

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Future Commission Vice-President in charge of the Rule of Law and Fundamental Rights Frans Timmermans (the Netherlands) and future Vice-President/High Representative of the Union in Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini (Italy) spoke out strongly in favour of LGBTI rights.

Timmermans committed to defend fundamental rights, emphasising the need for legal action to protect minorities. “There is so much diversity in Europe, we will always find someone to blame: either Jews or Muslims or Christians or gays, or women, or Gypsies – Roma, Sinti . . . The triumph of European civilisation is to curtail that reaction and to create a legal framework within which we control this.”

Mogherini, who as Catherine Ashton’s successor will be in charge of the EU’s Foreign Policy, assured that furthering the rights of ethnic and sexual minorities “is part of [her] DNA.”

“I do it because I believe in it, not because it is a clause or a must.”

Ulrike Lunacek MEP, Co-President of the LGBTI Intergroup-designate, reacted: “The two candidate Vice-Presidents spoke clearly in favour of the rights of minorities, particularly LGBTI people.”

“Timmermans stated that he would not shy away from action on fundamental rights within the EU, whereas Mogherini gave a clear commitment to continue defending the rights of LGBTI people externally. I am very glad to hear such strong commitments, and I am sure they will be a great asset to the global movement on LGBTI rights.”

Promise of future action on LGBTI rights

Earlier, the Parliament already heard Vera Jourová (Justice, Czech Republic) who in her written answer addressed the need for an action plan on LGBTI rights, Mr Mimica (Development) who emphasised the need to enhance human rights in relation to third countries, and future Commissioner Andiukaitis (Health), who emphasised that in the field of health care, discrimination cannot be permitted.

Daniele Viotti MEP, Co-President of the LGBTI Intergroup-designate, reacted: “I am very glad that without reservation, future Commissioners on all relevant portfolios have given their outspoken support for LGBTI equality and fundamental rights.”

“With this new Commission we have a strong promise of future action on the rights of LGBTI people. I look forward to seeing them in action and cooperating with them to create LGBTI inclusive policies.”

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