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On the occasion of the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, the European Union reiterates its unswerving commitment to promoting and protecting the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) persons.
Across the world, cultural, traditional or religious values continue to be used to justify persecution, discrimination, bullying and gross ill-treatment against LGBTI persons, often involving hate crimes and extreme forms of violence, including torture and murder.
In 72 countries, sexual orientation laws continue to criminalise same-sex acts, and in other countries, the laws do not offer the necessary level of protection, allowing various forms of discrimination to happen on a daily basis in all spheres of life of LGBTI persons. The EU strongly reaffirms that discrimination against LGBTI persons undermines the most basic human rights principles enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The EU continues its fight against impunity for acts of discrimination and violence against LGBTI persons both inside and outside its territory. In this context, the Commission published a 'List of actions to advance LGBTI equality' to be implemented by the Commission between 2016 and 2019, which includes activities in various relevant policy areas ranging from non-discrimination, education, employment, health, free movement, asylum, hate speech/hate crime, to enlargement and foreign policy.
Through its external action, the EU holds regular political dialogues with third countries and supports civil society organisations through targeted financial assistance. Since 2016, the EU has supported 16 projects implemented by civil society organisations in Asia, Africa, Latin America and Eastern Europe worth €5.2 million. In 2018, the EU launched a specific call for proposals worth €10 million to support LGBTI organisations worldwide. Moreover, the recent adoption of the EU Human Rights Guidelines on Non-Discrimination reinforces the existing EU Guidelines to promote and protect the enjoyment of all human rights by LGBTI persons.
Countless LGBTI rights defenders working to challenge injustice and give a voice to those who suffer oppression and discrimination frequently face attacks in Europe and in many parts of the world. This is why since November 2018, the EU, through its Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights, is supporting LGBTI Human Rights Defenders and their organisations active in areas where LGBTI persons are most at risk of discrimination.
The EU, hand in hand with its Member States, will continue supporting the essential work of these advocates and will not stop until all LGBTI persons can live freely and safely.