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Parliamentary questions
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4 May 2009
E-1441/2009(ASW)
Reply
Question reference: E-1441/2009

The Council has not discussed this specific case. However, the Council considers that discrimination based on sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation is incompatible with the principles upon which the European Union (EU) is founded. The EU, pursuant to Article 6(1) and (2) of the Treaty on EU, and the European Community, pursuant to Article 13 TEC and within the limits of the powers conferred upon the Community, pursue a clear policy of fighting these phenomena, both within its borders and in the context of its external action.

In the external relations context, the EU is actively engaged in efforts within the United Nations to tackle racism and discrimination, including discrimination based on sexual orientation. The EU Presidency was the driving force behind a Declaration, adopted by the UN General Assembly on 18 December 2008 by 66 States, including all EU Member States, confirming that international human rights protection covers sexual orientation and gender identity. It was the first time that a statement condemning rights abuses against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people had been presented in the General Assembly. The statement drew unprecedented support from five continents, including Latin America. The 66 States reaffirmed ‘the principle of non-discrimination, which requires that human rights apply equally to every human being regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity’. They stated that they are ‘deeply concerned by violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms based on sexual orientation or gender identity’ and said that ‘violence, harassment, discrimination, exclusion, stigmatization and prejudice are directed against persons in all countries in the world because of sexual orientation or gender identity’.

The EU has incorporated racism, xenophobia and discrimination issues in its political dialogues with third countries and constantly promotes the principle of non-discrimination which requires that human rights apply equally to every human being regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

In addition, support for human rights defenders is a long-established element of the EU's external relations policy on human rights which has become more effective and operational with the adoption of EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders in 2004. Particular attention is paid to local, on-the-ground implementation of the Guidelines through Commission Delegations and Member States' Embassies.

OJ C 189, 13/07/2010
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