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The European Union would like to thank the Independent Expert, Mr.Victor Madrigal-Borloz, for his report to the Council on "Data collection and management as a means to create heightened awareness of violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity".
The EU remains strongly committed to equality and non-discrimination and to the entitlement of all persons, irrespective of their sexual orientation or gender identity, to enjoy the full range of human rights – and to do so without discrimination and violence.
The EU is gravely concerned that sexual orientation and gender identity continue to be used to justify serious human rights violations around the world. Many LGBTI persons experience discrimination in day-to-day life, which often lead to harmful effects, such as stigmatization, social exclusion or even violence. The EU is actively working to protect LGBTI persons from discrimination and violence and to guarantee their full enjoyment of all human rights. The collection and dissemination of data on the issue will contribute to this end ensure greater transparency and will be a step on the road to address the problem and we appreciate your work as a tangible means to better protect and promote the full enjoyment of human rights by all.
Through a combination of political and human rights dialogues, awareness-raising activities, financial assistance and specific policy tools such as the "European Commission's List of actions to advance LGBTI equality", the EU will continue to address discrimination and violence on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity and show the European Union's commitment to advance LGBTI equality in the enjoyment of human rights, in the European Union and beyond.
In line with the EU LGBTI Guidelines and EU Council Conclusions on LGBTI Equality, we also look forward to continue our efforts in enabling the Independent Expert to make progress in having access to a range of countries, and foster a climate of dialogue to help overcome fears and suspicions.
Mr. Madrigal-Borloz, you mention in your report that while taking measures to collect and manage data on sexual orientation and gender identity, States must bear in mind that these are, in almost every context, highly stigmatized characteristics that trigger multiple forms of violence and discrimination..
Could you provide any examples of good practices in order to prevent this kind of multiple forms of violence and discrimination?
Turning now to the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers,
The European Union would like to thank the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, Mr. Diego García-Sayán, for the presentation of his report on the exercise of the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly by judges and prosecutors to the Council.
The European Union remains equally committed to the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms and the independence of the judiciary. They are essential features of any democracy, where the rule of law is crucial.
As the Special Rapporteur highlights in his report, the UN Basic Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary, among other international standards, recognizes that judges and prosecutors are like other citizens, entitled to freedom of expression, belief, association and assembly. However, the specificity of their duties and responsibilities and the need to ensure impartiality and independence of the judiciary are considered as legitimate aims in order to impose specific restrictions on these freedoms.
The European Union attaches great importance to the separation of powers and safeguarding of the independence of the judiciary. Therefore, we believe that any limitation by a State of the exercise of these rights by judges and prosecutors calls for close scrutinyshall strike the right balance and should be subject to the general criteria under international law for such restrictions, including as regards necessity and proportionality.
Concerning the level of restriction of the above-mentioned freedoms for judges and prosecutors, it differs from country to country also within the European Union, according to their respective legal cultures.
Mr. García-Sayán, in your report you draw the attention to the challenges of online forms of expression and association (including social media) by judges and prosecutors. Would you elaborate further on how best the conduct of judges and prosecutors on social media could be regulated in order to preserve the dignity of their office and the impartiality and independence of the judiciary?