Article published on 02 December 2011
The Malta Gay Rights Movement (MGRM) welcomed Justice Minister Carmelo Mifsud Bonnici’s announcement on plans to extend the grounds for which hate crime legislation will apply to also include homophobia. This generally refers to aggression and violence targeting people because of their belonging or perceived belonging to a particular group or category.
Homophobic hate speech and hate crime are obstacles to the possibility for individuals to exercise rights in a non-discriminatory manner, MGRM said, advocating the inclusion of transphobic crimes under this proposal since transgender persons are also vulnerable to such crimes.
There was also a need for accompanying non-legislative measures, such as raising awareness among the police and the authorities, promoting adequate training curricula, establishing systems for recording such crimes, and fostering targeted cooperation in order to protect LGBTI communities from hate violence and to support victims.
MGRM said such measures are essential and form an important part of more comprehensive strategies that are needed to achieve social change. Building inclusive societies, free from prejudice and hatred, is the only way to eliminate homophobic and transphobic attacks.