Friday, May 17, 2013, 00:14
Malta has a long way to go before it can claim to provide equal rights and a safe environment for citizens of all sexual orientations, the Malta Gay Rights Movement and NGO Aditus said.
In a statement to coincide with the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO), the groups cited an ILGA-Europe Map released this month that provides an overview and comparison of the legal situation of the 47 Council of Europe member states.
The map places Malta somewhere in the middle with a score of 35 per cent where the highest, the UK, scored 77 per cent, and the lowest, seven per cent, was scored by Russia.
It takes into account legislation in the fields of equality and non-discrimination, family, bias-motivated speech and violence, legal gender recognition, freedom of assembly, association and expression and asylum.
Malta’s position could shift drastically by this time next year should the Government’s plans to introduce comprehensive civil union legislation at par with marriage and a new Gender Identity Bill become legal realities, Aditus and the MGRM said.
The groups also cited a Fundamental Rights Agency survey on the social and human rights’ situation of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in the EU.
Over half (51 per cent) of Maltese respondents, just slightly above the EU average of 47 per cent, reported feeling discriminated against or harassed in the last 12 months on grounds of sexual orientation.
Aditus and the MGRM welcomed current discussions with the Ministry for Education and Employment and the Minister for Social Dialogue, Consumer Affairs and Civil Liberties to address LGBT issues in schools from an early age.
MGRM’s Gabi Calleja said: “I am hopeful that the political leadership being shown will lead to a significant step forward towards equality and respect of human rights.”