Freedom of assembly and expression for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered persons

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report


The Congress believes that the role of local authorities in upholding their citizens’ rights to freedom of assembly and expression is a central one. It therefore took full note of a motion for a resolution on freedom of assembly and expression for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered persons (LGBT), presented to the Congress' 13th Plenary Session in May 2006, which highlighted recent events where local authorities in a number of Council of Europe member states have banned, or attempted to ban, peaceful rallies or demonstrations by LGBT and their supporters.

The Congress believes the protection of rights to freedom of assembly and expression to be essential for ensuring the accountability and responsiveness of governing authorities and thus also critical to the protection of all other basic human rights. This report therefore responds to these events, giving an overview of the respect of these rights of the LGBT community in member states and draws up a series of recommendations for implementation at local level.

Recommendations include taking appropriate steps to combat hate speech on the basis of the principles laid down in Committee of Ministers Recommendation No. R(97)20, making every effort to ensure that notification procedures for LGBT events are as free from bureaucracy as possible, restricting the right to peaceful assembly only as a last resort - having exhausted all other means of reaching agreement about the event – dispersing said assemblies also only as a measure of last resort and ensuring that local police receive human rights and non-discrimination training and that international standards of policing (in particular as regards the use of force) be applied. A capacity for mediation of disputes between opposed groups should be created, and trained, independent monitors be made available to provide an objective account of LGBT events, oversee policing arrangements involving counter-protesters or sensitive locations and check compliance with the terms of any mediated agreement. Local authorities are further encouraged to consider forging links with the OSCE/ODIHR to develop and pilot a monitoring programme in relation to LGBT events. Lastly, governments are asked to take a public stand against discrimination and investigate all cases of hate speech and homophobic violence with rigour.
Original languageEnglish
Commissioning bodyCouncil of Europe Congress of Local and Regional Authorities, Standing Committee on Social Cohesion
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2007

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