Gender identity and sexual orientation continue to be used as justifications for serious human rights violations around the world. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people constitute a vulnerable group and remain victims of persecution, discrimination and gross ill-treatment, often involving extreme forms of violence. In more than 70 countries in the world, sexual relations between consenting adults of the same sex are considered as a crime and punished with imprisonment or death penalty.
The EU strongly supports the position that all individuals, without discrimination, are entitled to enjoy the full range of human rights. LGBTI people have the same human rights as all individuals, including the right to non-discrimination. This principle is enshrined in numerous international instruments, providing for a wide scope in its application.
EU Action is guided by the EU Guidelines to promote and protect the enjoyment of all human rights by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) persons. This priority is also recognized under the EU Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy 2015-2019 with an objective aiming at cultivating an environment of non-discrimination.
Through the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), the European Union supports several projects worldwide for the defence of LGBTI rights. Projects aim at improving LGBTI organisations’ visibility and acceptance, and enhancing their dialogue with authorities to change laws; combatting homophobia and prejudices against LGBTI persons; protecting LGBTI persons from violence and enhancing access to psychosocial, medical, mediation and reintegration programs for victims; and providing training, information and legal support to LGBTI persons and organisations. Emergency funding is also provided to LGBTI human rights defenders.