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Belgium in second place in Europe for LGBTI rights

Belgium has been placed in second place among European countries for LGBTI rights and liberties, the European wing of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans & Intersex Association (ILGA-Europe) has announced.

ILGA looks at the laws and policies of each country and places them on a scale of 0% (flagrant breach of human rights) to 100%. It also produces an overview of each country’s progress over the last 12 months.

Belgium comes in second place behind Malta on the overall rankings, with a score of 73.24% to Malta’s 89.1%.

Luxembourg came in third place. At the bottom of the table, in 49th place with 2.33%, was Azerbaijan.

The survey also gives a score and ranking for a number of specific policy areas.

Equality: Belgium comes in 4th place with 79.52%, behind Montenegro, Bosnia & Herzegovina and Finland, and just ahead of the Netherlands. Four countries – Monaco, Russia, Turkey and Armenia, scored zero.

In this category, the country’s constitution must contain an explicit or tacit ban on discrimination on the grounds of gender.

Family: First equal with Malta on 100%, ahead of Sweden, the Netherlands and the UK. Family criteria include specific inclusion of same-sex partnerships in provisions on marriage, civil partnerships or cohabitation. There should also be no discrimination for adoption or fertility treatment.

Hate crime and speech: Belgium drops to 17th place with 38.4%. This table is led by Malta on 100%, followed by Montenegro and Luxembourg. No fewer than 12 countries scored zero points. The country’s laws should contain a specific offence of hate crime and hate speech on the grounds of gender and sexual orientation, as well as an official strategy to combat these crimes.

Gender recognition: Belgium is in ninth place with 59.25%. Once again, Malta leads the field, ahead of Denmark and Luxembourg. This covers issues such as self-determination regarding gender declaration and obstacles or otherwise to name change.

Civil society: Belgium, together with 33 other countries, occupies the first-equal space. Russia scores zero. The creation of associations, organisation of public events, freedom of association, freedom of expression, eligibility for public funding.

Asylum: Belgium takes second place with 83.57% behind Montenegro. 15 countries score zero. Sexual orientation included as a category for allowing asylum, and is not included as a barrier to asylum.

This confirms the importance of equality in our legislation but there is still an effort needed to raise awareness,” said Frédéric Daerden (PS), minister for equal opportunities for the French-speaking community. “In fact, Unia, the inter-federal centre for equal opportunities, opened 133 cases last year concerning discrimination against LGBT people, a record number,” he said.

Alan Hope
The Brussels Times