The issues

Universal and indivisible human rights

It would be easy to pit the rights of one group against the rights of another. For example, opponents of marriage equality argue that it diminishes the rights of religious believers. Or opponents of reproductive choice argue that it affects the “rights” of foetuses or embryos. This is a false distinction. National and European courts repeatedly rule that the beliefs or rights of one group cannot be used to justify restricting the rights of another. This is why our members stand firmly for the rights of all to be respected.

Sexual and reproductive health and rights

Sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) refer to people’s human rights and well-being in relation to their sexuality and reproduction. Every person should be able to choose whether and when to have children, live free from bodily harm and sexual violence.

Everyone deserves, equally, to live without stigma and discrimination.

SRHR services include:

  • Receiving information and education
  • Services related to modern contraception
  • Reproductive health services including abortion
  • Maternal and child health
  • Sexually transmitted infections and HIV treatment, prevention and care
  • Prevention and support provided to the survivors of gender based violence and prevention of sexual abuse and care.

SRHR are related to the EU’s core values; a violation of SRHR breaches the right to life, equality, non-discrimination, dignity, family life, health and freedom from inhumane and degrading treatment.

Human Rights of LGBTI People

All people, regardless of their sexual orientation,  or gender identity and sex characteristics, should be able to fully enjoy their human rights. LGBTI people are not asking for special rights, but want to live free of discrimination and achieve full equality and be able to enjoy human rights without discrimination.

The principle of non-discrimination is firmly inscribed in international human rights law, the European Human Rights Convention and the EU treaties.  The treaty bodies, as well as the European Human Rights Court and the European Court of Justice have repeatedly affirmed that all human rights are universal and that sexual orientation and gender identity are grounds protected from discrimination under international law.

Despite this, discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and sex characteristics persists, also in Europe, including:

  • Lack of recognition of partnership rights and parenting rights for same-sex couples and rainbow families
  • Homophobic and transphobic school-bullying
  • Pathologisation of trans identities and sterilisation requirements for legal gender recognition
  • Restriction of freedom of association and freedom of expression
  • Discrimination in access to and in employment, in health services and in education
  • Homophobic and transphobic hate speech and crimes

Sexual orientation, gender identity and sex characteristic are integral aspects of our selves and should never lead to discrimination or human rights abuse.


Secularism, the political and legal separation of politics and religion provides a framework for a democratic society where everyone can fully enjoy their rights without obstructing the rights of others.

In a secular society:

  • No religious or belief group interferes in affairs of state, and the state does not interfere in religious affairs
  • No religion or belief system is favoured over any other
  • Legislation and public policy are based on principles we can all agree about: people’s fundamental rights and dignity
  • The state ensures freedom of religion and belief for all citizens is protected, and that the manifestations of these beliefs do not undermine the rights and freedoms of others

In today’s diverse Europe, this model of mutual respect is the key to building a pluralistic world, one where individuals who follow different principles and doctrines can co-exist. A secular society is a society where all citizens are equal before the law and have the same rights and obligations. This equal footing is a powerful safeguard for women, LGBTI people and minorities—frequent targets of faith-based discriminatory policies.