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UCL European Institute

Promoting LGBT rights at home and abroad: the role of the European Union


The 2013 Sakharov Debate aimed to critically examine the state of LGBT rights in Europe, with a particular focus on the role of the EU in promoting same-sex equality among EU member-states and in states outside the EU. As in the two previous years, it was organised jointly with the European Parliament UK Office.


Speakers:
  • Anna Grodzka (first transgender MP, Poland)
  • Michael Cashman MEP (Co-President of the European Parliament's Intergroup on LGBT Rights)
  • Robert Wintermute (School of Law, King's College London) 
  • Richard Mole (UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies)
  • Chair: Patrick Strudwick (journalist)
  • Welcome: Sir Stephen Wall (UCL Council, former UK Permanent Representative to the EU)

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in June 2011 that 'acts of violence committed against individuals because of their sexual orientation and gender identity’ was ‘an attack on the universal values that the United Nations and I have sworn to defend and uphold’.

While respecting LGBT rights is promoted by the UN as a universal value, this view is far from being universally accepted.

Europe has emerged as a world-leader in terms of the respect for and protection of LGBT rights. Especially since the inclusion of sexual orientation in the equalities agenda of the European Union through Article 13 of the Amsterdam Treaty, there has been increased pressure at the European level for the existing members and accession states to promote the equal rights of their LGBT citizens.


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