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Numerous reports by NGOS , the Council of Europe, the EU Fundamental rights Agency and the OSCE have confirmed that racism, xenophobia and related intolerance remain widespread phenomena within the EU 28 Member states and neighboring countries . A disruptive social and political climate is growing ever more with the development of , racist and xenophobic agendas that exploit fears about youth unemployment and security in the face of terrorism and other geopolitical challenges.

In many EU Member States, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people run the risk of discrimination and harassment on a daily basis. Prejudices and misconceptions about homosexuality and transgender people further fuel intolerant attitudes and behaviour towards this community.

People with disabilities make an enormous contribution to European society, but often face barriers that prevent them from participating in society on an equal basis with others. Overall, the situation as described has a negative impact on social cohesion, as well as on respect for fundamental rights across the EU.

The EU has adopted in 2008 a Framework Decision on racism and xenophobia which obliges Member States to criminalise the most serious forms of hate crime and hate speech on grounds of race, colour, religion, descent, and national or ethnic origin – The Victims’ Rights Directive (2012/29/EU) also provides the EU with a solid set of rules to protect victims of bias-motivated crime.

The EU also benefits from an advanced legal and policy framework promoting equality and non-discrimination. The EU Lisbon Treaty makes non-discrimination a cross-cutting principle that guides the Union in defining and implementing its policies and activities. Directives on gender equality and the Racial Equality Directive (2000/43/EC)3 offer comprehensive protection against discrimination on the grounds of sex and racial or ethnic origin, and the Employment Equality Directive (2000/78/EC)4 prohibits discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation in the areas of employment, occupation and vocational training. But there is still a lack of progress in the negotiations related to the Proposal for a Council Directive on implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation (the Equal Treatment Directive). Adopting this directive would put an end to the so-called hierarchy of grounds by ensuring that the EU and its Member States offer comprehensive protection against discrimination on the grounds of sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age and sexual orientation on an equal footing.

ILGA-Europe - the European Region of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) is an international non-governmental umbrella organisation bringing together 490 organisations from 45 European countries.
The two main pillars of ILGA-Europe work are:

  • advocating for human rights and equality for LGBTI people at European level, before organisations such as the European Union, the Council of Europe and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)
  • strengthening the European LGBTI movement by providing training and support to its member organisations and other LGBTI groups

  • CHARHON CONSULTANT supported ILGA Europe to organize its seminar “Stepping up the fight against hate crimes. Towards an inclusive response to homophobic and transphobic violence and hatred” (December 2014) The main objectives of the seminar were:
  • To facilitate the discussion on the various models of hate crime legislation in order to assess their effectiveness and impact;
  • To assess EU legislation and explore the legal avenues to strengthen the EU legislation framework to combat hate crimes and to protect victims of homophobic and transphobic more efficiently;
  • To strengthen cooperation between EU institutions, civil society and other stakeholders and pave the way for shared operational objectives;

  • CHARHON CONSULTANT helped ILGA Europe with the design of the event policy concept along with the programme agenda of the conference. CHARHON CONSULTANTS has supported the identification of contributors and keynote speakers and has organized the seminar workshops along with the production of policy materials and the drafting of final proceedings.
    - Final report: click here …