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Sep 11, 2007 News: ILGA-Europe Welcomes Judgement by European Court of Human Rights
By Sven Rabatzky

(EU) - The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg issued a Transgender-friendly judgment in the case against Lithuania. The Court said that while Lithuanian law had recognised the right of a transsexual person to change their gender and their civil status, the gap in the law regulating full gender reassignment surgery created an impediment for the transsexual person to complete this process. Therefore Lithuania violated Article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights, where the right to respect of family and private life is guaranteed.

ILGA-Europe welcomes this judgement of the European Court of Human Rights which is consistent with the previous case law of the Court regarding the rights of Transgender people. The Court has confirmed previously established principles that a Transgender person has the right to full gender reassignment procedures and changes of his/her identity documents to reflect this change of gender.

Patricia Prendiville, Executive Director of ILGA-Europe, said:

“This is a very positive judgement and we welcome the Court’s consistency on this matter. This case highlights a problem with some European countries which formally permit gender reassignment and amendment of identity documents but lack legal clarity and consistency and available medical facilities.

It is also important that the Court took into consideration the mental distress and a number of practical burdens and problems experienced by the applicant because of being unable to complete the gender reassignment process and associated amendments in documentation. This case highlights the complexity and the need for better understanding of the issues that transgender people experience because of the legal and bureaucratic barriers they face.”

ILGA Europe also expressed its satisfaction about the timing of the court decision. ILGA-Europe’s annual conference is taking place this October in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius and both the judgement and the conference of the organization are good opportunities to enhance debate and discussion on the continuing discrimination Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people are facing across Europe.

ILGA-Europe is the European Region of the International Lesbian and Gay Association and works for equality and human rights for LGBT individuals in Europe.


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