More progressive abroad than at home

The EU’s guidelines on the rights of sexual minorities abroad should be followed by more action at home

On 24 June, the European Union’s Council of Ministers adopted a ground-breaking foreign-policy document entitled “Guidelines to promote and protect the enjoyment of all human rights by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and inter-sex (LGBTI) persons”. These guidelines, drawn up by the European External Action Service (EEAS) are a comprehensive, legally binding document that instructs European Union institutions and member states on how to help progress the rights for LGBTI people when dealing with third countries and in international forums. These guidelines replace the non-binding ‘toolkit’ adopted in 2010, they include references to the human rights of inter-sex people, and enhance the scope. They call for actions to combat discriminatory laws and policies; combat LGBTI-phobic violence; and promote equality and non-discrimination. In short, the EU now has a state-of-the-art framework for the promotion of greater recognition of LGBTI human rights internationally. This is an extraordinarily fast-paced development and deserves to be praised.

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