Slovakia’s cruel anti-LGBTQ+ bill condemned by European Human Rights commissioner
The commissioner for The Council of Europe’s Human Rights is urging politicians in Slovakia to vote against proposed legislation that would effectively prevent trans people from having their gender legally recognised.
The bill, set to have its second reading next month, proposes only allowing someone to change their gender marking if they can prove, via genetic testing, it had been incorrectly determined.
In a letter to the Slovakia parliament, dated 19 April but released publically on 25 April, commissioner Dunja Mijatović said she was concerned that the bill would “effectively” mean trans men and women’s genders would not be legally recognised and “lead to human rights regression”.
She said it was “in conflict” with the Slovak Republic’s obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights.
Mijatović mentioned the October 2022 shooting at LGBTQ+ bar Tepláreň, in the capital, Bratislava, where two people were killed and another person was injured.
It “should have triggered a process of addressing long-standing concerns about intolerance towards LGBTI people”, she said.
“However, I am disappointed that no discernible progress has been made, and that the human rights of LGBTI people in the Slovak Republic appear to be more, rather than less, at risk.”
Mijatović also used the letter to highlight issues relating to the rights of same-sex couples and hate incidents towards queer people.
Rights for same-sex couples in the Slovak Republic fell short of European Court of Human Rights case law, she said, noting, specifically, that the current legal framework did not grant same-sex couples “adequate recognition and protection of their relationship”.
She went further and urged that human rights of queer people be protected.
“These include ensuring that gender identity and sex characteristics are explicitly recognised as protected characteristics in hate-crime legislation, and included as aggravating circumstances when offences are committed on those grounds.”
Mijatović also recommended raising societal awareness and acceptance of sexual orientation and gender identity, noting parliamentarians had downplayed links between hate crimes and the wider Slovakia society and political sphere.
The Slovak Republic is not the only European country facing condemnation for its laws in relation to LGBTQ+ people.
Hungary is facing a lawsuit in the European Union Court of Justice over its Child Protection Act, which bans the discussion of LGBTQ+ people in schools and in the media, while some parts of Poland controversially adopted declarations declaring themselves “free from LGBT ideology” in 2019. Some have since backtracked for fear of losing out on funding.