Anti-gay violence and discrimination throughout EU

31st March 2009, Comments 0 comments

A new report by an EU agency concludes that discrimination takes place mainly in central and eastern European countries.

BRUSSELS – Discrimination, bullying at school, and sometimes deadly violence against gays are "widespread throughout the EU," the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights complained in a new report Tuesday.

"Many LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) persons experience discrimination, bullying and harassment. There have been physical attacks and even deadly assaults," in some countries, said the agency's director Morten Kjaerum.

"These are alarming signals in an EU that prides itself on its principles of equal treatment and non-discrimination," he added.

While the Vienna-based agency did not give nation-by-nation figures, some of its conclusions pointed to heightened discrimination in the new, mainly central and eastern European nations.

The report for instance noted that in some EU nations Gay Pride marches "have been banned or obstructed" with the authorities unwilling or unable to provide security for participants, sometimes themselves resorting to "hate speeches".

Such marches have in recent years been marred by violence in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Poland, Romania and Sweden.

In Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Cyprus, Hungary, Italy and Malta calls to improve gay rights "have been hit by hostile responses from certain political figures," the group said.

The report calls on the European parliament to show that discrimination against gays, beginning at school, is not acceptable and "to identify and confront the problem" not least through better equality legislation and more accurate reporting of instances of abuse.

Gay harassment at school can affect victims' school results and even lead to them dropping out of the education system altogether, Kjaerum warned.

AFP / Expatica

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