ILGA Europe has had its meeting on Developing a Strategic Plan for ILGA Europe 2008—2011 last 7th July 2007 in Budapest. Enric Vilà was present on behalf of the European Forum and wrote a report
Members of the ILGA Europe board and staff were there, together with several invited organizations, altogether 36 persons from a lot of organisations:
- BGO Gemini
- Campaign Against Homophobia
- COC, The Netherlands
- David&Jonathan, France, member group of the European Forum
- Gay Liberation Movement of Cyprus
- ILGA Portugal
- Lithuanian Gay League
- RozeLinks, The Netherlands
- and of course the European Forum of LGBT Christian groups.
They discussed about this document during the weekend. It highlights the main characteristics of the ILGA Europe 2005—2008 Strategic Plan, current plan, including new objectives and strategies, and called for all organisations to make comments and suggestions for modifications to be considered in its review to achieve greater equality for LGBT people throughout Europe. It will be followed by next steps: open to comments suggestions to the plan till next 9/9/2007; third draft document to be modified with the opinion of ILGA Europe members during the next months circulated prior to the conference (Early October 2007) and presentation, votation and agreement at the next Vilnius Conference (28.10.2007). Discussions were made on ILGA Europe’s Mission, Vision and Values current’s definition in reduced groups and feedback was given in global group. ILGA Europe’s strategy and objectives were the key points to renew.
Among others, the religion issue was put on the table for participants to discuss. Our Forum exposed its view about religious fundamentalists menace in Europe together with last eurobarometer surveys' conclusions. Either Catholic, Orthodox or Islam fundamentalism from part of their hierarchies threaten Europe’s achievements in LGBT rights, as was exposed in the last 25th Strassboug’s Forum. That can be seen in Poland policies and in the Netherlands social situation, as two different cases either in eastern or western countries. It was communicated Forum’s firm and tight engagement reflected in our decision to have a permanent representant in the next ILGA Europe & ILGA World conferences. Yves, David et Jonathan’s representant also emphasized the importance of the issue in different levels either religion is seen negative (fundamentalism) more than positive (LGBT believers existence). There was a general consensus that the importance of religious issue will be considered and appear as a cross issue in ILGA Europe working programme and objectives but not in the general strategy. The Budapest Meeting had a consultative status and conclusions will be taken into account. The European Forum has contacted the Lithuania’s board responsible of the next Vilnius conference. A workshop on religion was suggested to be planned (on a subject that Forum’s Board will specify) together with a spiritual space for believer participants.
Budapest Pride March
Budapest Pride’s March took place in the afternoon and participants were invited to assist. The planning of the meeting was modified due to unanimous decision to march. Three members of ILGA Europe board spoke before the march to support Hungarian LGBT organisations. Extreme right counter-demonstrators attacked the peaceful participants of the Budapest Pride March, threatening them and causing them actual bodily harm along a several kilometer long section of the parade. Contrary to a number of reports and the statement of the Interior Ministry, items capable of causing grievious bodily harm were thrown at the marchers: eggs, beer bottles, smokebombs and molotov cocktails. The counter-demonstrators continuously shouted: “faggots into the Danube, followed by the Jews”, “soap factory”, “filthy faggots”. This is a provable case of hate-speech directly leading to violence. In the neighbourhood of the event closing the parade dozens of attacks on gays by lingering counter-demonstrators took place. Hungarian LGBT organisations demand an investigation and call on the Minister responsible for public order to investigate the case instead of covering up why the police did not protect the marchers and why calls for help in the course of the night were refused.
What I have lived during Budapest Pride’s March, I’ll never forget in my live. Avoiding violently throwned eggs and hearing hateful menacing insults from furious walkers together with being all time protected by hungarian police reflect in practice real and truth LGBT’s extreme situation in European eastern countries in today’s EU. Our Forum is clearly called to be even more engaged with them.