While Amnesty International’s report on rising homophobia and homophobic attacks paints the bleakest of pictures of life for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and intersex Africans, their future might be a little bit brighter.

This following the adoption of a ground-breaking global policy by the Council of the European Union ヨ instructing EU diplomats around the globe to defend the human rights of LGBTI people. 

It could be a very important blow in the culture wars raging across Africa.

The LGBTI Guidelines were adopted by the foreign affairs ministers of the 27 EU governments on the Council of the European Union.

They had already adopted a non-binding toolkit to promote LGBT people’s human rights in June 2010 ヨ but now they have taken a huge step forward by upgrading the document to these new Guidelines to promote and protect the enjoyment of all human rights by LGBTI individuals.

The Guidelines will be binding on all 27 nations and their diplomatic efforts around LGBTI issues will, from now on, revolve around four priorities:

Eliminate discriminatory laws and policies, including the death penalty;Promote equality and non-discrimination at work, in healthcare and in education;Combat state or individual violence against LGBTI persons; andSupport and protect human rights defenders.

“It is absolutely ground-breaking that the 27 foreign affairs ministers agreed to this, and only three years after the LGBT Toolkit,” said Ulrike Lunacek MEP, Co-President of the LGBT Intergroup. “And I’m very happy the document pays particular attention to trans and intersex people, as well as lesbian and bisexual women at risk of gender-based violence.”

“We’re extremely happy with the Guidelines, and I can hardly add anything to this excellent document,” echoed Michael Cashman MEP, also Intergroup Co-President. “The Council did an outstanding job, about which I have no reservations.”

In partnership with EU delegations around the world, the European Parliament will monitor the implementation of the guidelines starting this towards the end of 2013.

They cannot start soon enough for those facing attacks and harassment across Africa.

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