In a human rights comment note published on October 2nd, the Commissioner for Human Rights at the Council of Europe, Nils Muižnieks, highlighted rights abuses faced by LGBTI young people and declared that all LGBTI children have the right to “safety and equality”
According to the Commissioner:
“Lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) children are often victims of bullying and violence in schools, at home and via social media. This has a serious effect on their well-being and prevents openness about their personal identity. Like all children, LGBTI children are entitled to enjoy human rights and require a safe environment in order to participate fully in society”.
BeLonG To Youth Services welcomed the statement. Speaking yesterday, David Carroll, Executive Director of BeLong To, said:
“We warmly welcome Commissioner Muižnieks comments on the rights of LGBTI children & young people and for specifically addressing some of the least talked about challenges LGBT young people face. The issues articulated by Commissioner Muižnieks reflect the needs we see on the ground on a daily basis with the young people and families we support.”
Commissioner Muižnieks, highlighted the Irish situation, where over half of LGBT respondents aged 25 or younger had given serious consideration to ending their lives. He also highlighted the ongoing work in Ireland to eliminate homophobic & transphobic bullying through the Dept. of Education & Skills ‘Action Plan on Bullying’. The Action Plan names ‘Stand Up! LGBT Awareness Week’ run by BeLonG To as one of the key actions schools should take to address homophobia and transphobia in their classrooms, corridors and school yards.
Mr. Carroll continued:
“Support from the Dept. of Education & Skills towards Stand Up! & BeLonG To has been vital in ensuring continuous and focused responsibility of schools in confronting homophobic and transphobic bullying.
The Action Plan on Bullying is a robust roadmap to address all forms of bullying. Stand Up! LGBT Awareness week was included in the plan as one of the key actions schools can take to address homophobia and transphobia specifically. Since the inception of the Action Plan in January 2013 we’re already starting to see the positive impact it is delivering on the ground in changing for the better the experiences all young people have while in school.”
The next Action Plan is due to take place in Spring 2015.
BeLonG To is the national organisation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered (LGBT) young people, aged between 14 and 23.
You can find out more about BeLong To by visiting their website.
The Commissioner, Nils Muizieks’ full comment note can be read HERE