We take the opportunity offered by the upcoming European Parliament (EP) elections to direct the spotlight onto the human rights dimension of Saturday’s voting. In this regard, a very active exercise of the right to political participation in Malta is positively noted. Yet despite such an enthusiastic approach to political participation, we question why the local EP campaigns almost totally failed to engage with any of the core values enshrined in the EU Treaties and the EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights. Such values include the rule of law, equality and non-discrimination, and democracy.
The EP elections should challenge us to evaluate the role we want to play as Maltese voters in the formulation of the EU’s identity as a promoter of fundamental values within and outside of the EU.
We should be asking how we can contribute to the creation of safer and more secure societies where all persons can live free and dignified lives. We should be discussing what role we want the EU to play in advocating for a more peaceful world. We should be wondering how we can best urge the EU to show more solidarity in picking up and rebuilding the tragic remains of shattered communities.
If we expect our governments and the EU to recognise our own human rights and those of other people, it is our duty to constantly put human rights on their agendas. We therefore strongly urge all voters to give human rights a central place in their exercise of Saturday’s vote.
The statement is available here (.pdf).
The Malta Gay Rights Movement welcomes the position taken by the Maltese MEP’s in support of a resolution to condemn homophobic laws and discrimination in Europe adopted by the European Parliament and supported by all the five mainstream political groups. The MGRM acknowledges the important role played by Simon Busuttil who led the negotiations on behalf of the EPP group to ensure a strong resolution. This was the first of its kind in this legislature to be co-signed by the EPP group.
In today’s resolution, the European Parliament “strongly condemns any discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity”.
The Parliament adopted its official position after a debate on Tuesday, where MEPs almost unanimously asked the European Commission and European governments to better protect the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. The resolution particularly condemns recent laws or proposals in EU countries (Lithuania, Latvia, Hungary) and Council of Europe Member States Russia, Ukraine and Moldova, making it a penal or criminal offence to talk positively about homosexuality in public. The resolution also calls for the mutual recognition of the effects of civil status documents when moving from one member state to another and calls on other member states that have not yet done so to introduce the means for legal recognition of same-sex couples.
The MGRM also praises the participation of David Casa in the video produced by the Intergroup on LGBT Rights on the occasion of the International Day Against Homophobia.
Gabi Calleja, coordinator of the MGRM stated: “We look forward to the adoption of various pieces of legislation currently before parliament.”
Neil Falzon, Director of aditus foundation, added: “Whilst we particularly welcome the appeal for legislation recognising same-sex relationships, we strongly urge this to take the form of full marriage equality. Anything below full equality falls short of guaranteeing respect for human dignity.”