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SOGI/Council Of Europe Celebrates 10th Anniversary of Groundbreaking Recommendations

Today marks the tenth anniversary ofCM/Rec(2010)5of the Committee of Ministers to member states on measures to combat discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity. Groundbreaking in nature, the Recommendation enhanced the full enjoyment of all human rights by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons.

Statement by Snežana Samardžić-Marković, Director General of DG Democracy, on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the Committee of Ministers Recommendation CM/Rec(2010)5 to Member States on measures to combat discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity

Ten years ago the Council of Europe adopted the first international standard to advance human rights and equality for LGBTI persons: the Committee of Ministers Recommendation 2010 (5) which set up ways to overcome discrimination and social exclusion on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity through measures aimed both at those who experience them, and the population at large.

It has proved a true catalyst for change. An impressive number of our 47 member states have made substantial steps to recognise the legal rights of LGBTI people, despite challenging political and social contexts. Thirty-four have reviewed legislation and practice on direct or indirect discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and thirty-three on discrimination on the grounds of gender identity. Thirty-four exchange good practices by active networking.

But many challenges remain: some steps forward have been quickly followed by two steps back as public opinion shifted and politics changed. Yet thanks to political leadership from different Council of Europe bodies and the mobilisation of the LGBTI movement, the momentum continues, and we are delighted that our future work to support the uptake of the principles of the Recommendation will also include intersex people.

We celebrate the Recommendation's tenth anniversary at a time of great uncertainty. There are untold challenges ahead. We need to put extra thought into protecting communities already confronted with systematic marginalisation and making sure progress does not stagnate or reverse.

The SOGI Unit, our partner organisations in civil society and LGBTI people worldwide are no strangers to adversity. Remaining present and working effectively at an international, national and grassroots level has demanded innovation and drive. We will find new ways to connect, bridge divides and take steps forward.

Human rights do not become irrelevant or a luxury when crises happen - it's then that we need to step up our work. We know that now, and in the times to come, we can count on continuous support by many people and organisations to forge enduring connections across borders and support change to turn the letter of the law into the lived experience of LGBTI persons across 47 member States.

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