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Bias against other groups - Sexual orientation or gender identity

Hate crimes against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people are motivated by a bias based on a person's sexual orientation or gender identity. In some instances, LGBT people have been portrayed by the media and politicians as a threatening and inferior group, posing a danger to public health and "traditional" structures, such as marriage and the family. LGBT people continue to experience stigmatization and lack of legal protection from discrimination and hate crime. Successive ODIHR annual hate crime reports have included reports of physical assaults and murders, with transgender people being particularly at risk. Serious physical assaults carried out by groups, especially around pride parades, are also common features of hate crimes against LGBT people.

Recording practices vary, with some states recording hate crimes against transgender persons as a separate category and/or including crimes against intersex people within this category. The number of NGOs reporting on hate crimes against LGBT has grown markedly in recent years. Reports from NGOs to ODIHR suggest that mistrust of authorities, as well as an unwillingness or fear to reveal one's own sexual orientation or gender identity contributes to significant under-reporting of hate crimes targeting this group.



SELECT YEAR

International Reports

Andorra

In its fifth report on Andorra, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) strongly recommended that the authorities strengthen their ability to collect data on racist, homophobic and transphobic hate crime.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

In its third report on Bosnia and Herzegovina, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) recommended that bias motivation be made an aggravating circumstance at the state and entity levels where this is not yet the case. ECRI also recommended that the authorities expand training on hate crimes that would include violence against returnees, religious communities and LGBT people; and that the police duly investigate homophobic and transphobic incidents, while taking motivations into account.

Denmark

In its fifth report on Denmark, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) recommended that the authorities promote increased dialogue between members of the LGBT community and the police to facilitate the reporting of homophobic and transphobic violence.

Estonia

In its report, the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Estonia recommended that sexual orientation and gender identity be treated as aggravating circumstances in crimes.

Latvia

In his report following a visit to Latvia, the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe recommended that the authorities improve responses to homophobic and transphobic hate crime, as well as training for police, prosecutors and judges. He further recommended the inclusion of homophobic and transphobic biases as aggravating circumstances in the criminal code.

Luxembourg

In its fifth report on Luxembourg, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) strongly recommended that bias motivation be made an aggravating circumstance for any ordinary offence. ECRI also recommended that the police and judicial authorities establish and use a system for recording and monitoring hate crimes.

Montenegro

In its fifth report on Montenegro, the Council of Europe's European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) commended the improved protection of Roma people against hate crime but observed that LGBT people remain at high risk of being targeted. ECRI recommended that the authorities introduce a coherent system for recording hate crimes and collecting data and that they scale-up the training of criminal justice personnel and ensure that this training specifically addresses the identification of hate crimes. ECRI also recommended that the authorities provide clear instructions to the police about how to investigate hate crimes.

Netherlands

In its report, the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) for the Netherlands, recommended that the criminal code be amended to include an aggravating circumstance provision specifically addressing hate crimes; and strengthen the prosecution of hate crimes motivated by bias against LGBT people.

Poland

In the framework of Universal Periodic Review (UPR), the United Nations Human Rights Committee expressed concern that Poland's criminal code did not include disability, age, sexual orientation and gender identity as bias motivations for hate crimes. The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) recommended that Poland amend its criminal code to make any racial motivation for a crime an aggravating circumstance.

In its report, the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) for Poland, recommended that the criminal code be amended to include sexual orientation, gender identity and disability among the protected characteristics listed in its hate crime provisions.

Slovakia

In its "Concluding observations on the fourth report of Slovakia," the United Nations Human Rights Committee recommended measures to eradicate violence against people based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Ukraine

In its fifth report on Ukraine, the Council of Europe's European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) commended Ukraine's progress in investigating hate crimes and introducing specialized police officers. ECRI also noted the need to step up efforts to end racist violence against LGBT and Roma people. ECRI recommended that an independent investigative body be set up to address allegations of racially-motivated misconduct by the police, and that protected characteristics should be added to all relevant hate crime provisions in the criminal code, particularly sexual orientation and gender identity.