ILGA-Europe’s Rainbow Europe package
What is ILGA-Europe’s Rainbow Europe module?
The Rainbow Europe module brings together two core elements:
- Annual Review of the Human Rights Situation of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex People in Europe and Central Asia
- The Rainbow Europe Map & Index
With these two elements, the Rainbow Europe module provides insights into the legal and policy situation in Europe, along with a feeling of what everyday life for LGBTI people is like beyond the laws and policies. Rainbow Europe is designed to make the job of policy makers, media outlets, researchers, students and academics and other interested NGO’s more straightforward. It allows users to filter both the Annual Review and the Rainbow Map & Index based on different themes, download reference materials for free and compare a particular country’s standing with the European average.
What is the ILGA-Europe Annual Review of the Human Rights Situation of LGBTI People in Europe and Central Asia?
The Annual Review is ILGA-Europe’s annual publication documenting legal, political and social developments in 54 countries in Europe and Central Asia and four international institutions over the past calendar year. It provides a snapshot of what happened at national, regional and international levels. The Annual Review is a unique report documenting progress and regression and tracking key positive and negative trends in relation to LGBTI equality and human rights in Europe and Central Asia.
What is the Rainbow Map & Index?
Rainbow Europe – ILGA-Europe’s annual benchmarking tool – comprises the Rainbow Map and Index and national recommendations. ILGA-Europe have produced the Rainbow Map and Index since 2009, using it to illustrate the legal and policy situation of LGBTI people in Europe. Rainbow Europe ranks all 49 European countries on a scale between 0% (gross violations of human rights, discrimination) and 100% (respect of human rights, full equality).
How do the Annual Review and the Rainbow Map complement each other?
The Rainbow Map and Index ranks 49 European countries on their respective legal and policy practices for LGBTI people. These rankings are based on the laws and policies in effect in each country to ensure equal rights and protection for LGBTI people. The ranking records a country’s legal standards for comparison with its European neighbours but the numbers only provide one part of the story. The Annual Review complements the Rainbow Map and Index by giving a more nuanced, detailed and narrative overview of every country’s progress over the last 12 months. It has a chapter dedicated to each country, as well as developments at international level.
When is the Annual Review of the Human Rights Situation of LGBTI People in Europe and Central Asia published?
The ILGA-Europe Annual Review is published at the beginning of February every year.
When is the Rainbow Europe Map & Index published?
The Rainbow Europe Map and Index is published annually during the week of May 17, International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, Biphobia, and Intersexphobia (IDAHOBIT). Throughout the year the Rainbow Europe module is updated on a continuous basis to reflect legislative and policy changes in every European country. ILGA-Europe constantly monitor the legal and policy situation for LGBTI people with the help of our member organisations, working with a team of national experts to validate all the relevant data. In addition to this, ILGA-Europe work with partner organisations Transgender Europe, OII Europe, and ERA for their expertise and advice which ensures the module is as up-to-date as possible.
Rainbow Europe Map & Index
Which countries are included on Rainbow Map & Index?
Rainbow Europe ranks all 49 European countries. These are 46 Member States of the Council of Europe, Belarus, Russia and Kosovo (as a separate jurisdiction following UNSCR 1244/1999).
Why are Central Asian countries included in the Annual Review, but not in the Rainbow Map & Index?
In 2018, ILGA-Europe began collecting data from all countries in Central Asia for the Annual Review, and we published relevant chapters in 2019. At the moment, it does not feel appropriate to impose on Central Asia the Rainbow Index indicators, which have been determined in the European context. A project that will benchmark LGBTI rights in Central Asia is under development.
How do you calculate results on Rainbow Map & Index? What is the methodology?
We rank the countries on the basis of laws and policies that have a direct impact on LGBTI people’s human rights under 74 criteria – divided between seven thematic categories: equality and non-discrimination; family; hate crime and hate speech; legal gender recognition; intersex bodily integrity; civil society space; and asylum. You can find all the indicators we use at www.rainbow-europe.org/about
When a country is No’1 on the ranking, what does that mean?
This means that legislation and policies in that country that have a direct impact on the human rights of LGBTI people, under the 74 criteria and across the seven thematic categories, as defined by ILGA-Europe, is nearest 100% in terms of respect of human rights, full equality compared to the other countries in the ranking. It does not mean that full equality is achieved, neither in legislation nor in reality.
Sometimes a country that is known as a more LGBTI friendly country will appear lower in the ranking than one that is known for being less LGBTI friendly. Why is this?
This is because the country that is higher in the ranking has introduced more legislation and policies that protect the human rights of LGBTI people, under the 74 criteria and across the seven thematic categories, as defined by ILGA-Europe. Legislation does not always mean it is fully implemented, while many other factors also determine what the lived reality of LGBTI people in a country is like. We are paying increasing attention to how effective laws and measures are in each country, which impacts on a country’s ranking. The Annual Review adds this perspective and together the two give a nuanced picture of the situation of the protection of LGBTI rights in a given country.
What information does the Rainbow Map not give about a country?
Sometimes the media reports countries that rank higher on the Rainbow Map as LGBTI-friendly holiday destinations. This is false. Neither does the ranking show what countries are safest for LGBTI people. As the narrative in the Annual Review reports, LGBTI-phobia continues to exist and impact on the lives and safety of LGBTI people in every European country. The Rainbow Map specifically ranks countries based on their legislation and policies, it does not give information about societal acceptance of LGBTI people, or the general safety of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex people.
What criteria do you use in order to benchmark countries in the Rainbow Map & Index?
In order to create our country ranking, ILGA-Europe examine the laws and policies in 49 countries using a set of 74 criteria – divided between seven thematic categories: equality and non-discrimination; family; hate crime and hate speech; legal gender recognition; intersex bodily integrity; civil society space; and asylum.
How is the criteria for Rainbow Index determined?
ILGA-Europe consistently improve the Rainbow Europe benchmarking system, aiming at developing benchmark indicators to better reflect implementation of existing legislation and thus the lived experience of LGBTI people. The criteria is determined by ILGA-Europe staff and board members, in consultation with member organisations and national experts.
Have the criteria and methodology altered over the years, and is the data comparable?
The first edition of the Rainbow Map in 2009 consisted of a map which provided information concerning 13 issues. In the 2010 edition, ILGA-Europe added an index and collected data with regard to 14 indicators. A year later the Annual Review was added to the Rainbow Europe module and the Index grew to cover 24 indicators. The latest edition provides an Index with regard to 74 criteria – divided between seven thematic categories: equality and non-discrimination; family; hate crime and hate speech; legal gender recognition; intersex bodily integrity; civil society space; and asylum. Since 2013, ILGA-Europe has used a scale between 0% (gross violations of human rights, discrimination) and 100% (respect for human rights, full equality), which make the data comparable. You can compare the country rankings with the previous year’s edition at www.ilga-europe.org/rainboweurope The weight for each criterion has been changed over the years, allocated to different issues that are captured. As a result of these alterations, the Rainbow Map and Index gives a more accurate picture of what LGBTI people really need, and what matters to the lives of people in different parts of LGBTI communities across Europe.
How do we collect and verify data?
ILGA-Europe monitor legal and policy situation of LGBTI people in Europe and collect relevant data sets throughout the year, via our work advocating for human rights and equality, strengthening the LGBTI movement, and strategic litigation. The ILGA-Europe team verifies data with member organisations and its network of country experts who then provide detailed information about various developments in every country. We fact-check the information with the original sources. ILGA-Europe’s network of country experts consist of LGBTI human rights defenders, researchers, lawyers, and other experts from 49 countries.
What are the country-specific recommendations? How do you decide on them?
The Rainbow Map and Index presents a picture of what the policy landscape is like right now, while our country-specific recommendations attempt to answer the question: What’s next? These recommendations are intended to encourage national policymakers to address the most pressing legal and policy priorities within the framework of our Rainbow Map and Index.
The recommendations are gathered following an online consultation with a wide range of our member organisations and country experts. As a result, they are tailored to the needs of activists working on the ground.
For clarity we tend to stick to three suggestions per country but naturally this can be difficult, as our members are often working on a whole range of issues.
We hope our recommendations will help to direct policymakers to the areas where they can improve the legal and policy situation for LGBTI people. Our list of recommendations is not intended to be exhaustive. Rather, it pinpoints where respective domestic laws are lacking and suggests where legislators can start to be proactive.
How can journalists use the Rainbow Map & Index?
The Rainbow Map gives a picture of how Europe is progressing or regressing in the area of LGBTI rights, both on a macro level and country by country. It provides information about legislative and policy moves that will directly affect the human rights of LGBTI people in Europe, and so gives an overall picture of how governments are committed to LGBTI rights, or to the restriction of LGBTI rights in the region.
If reporting on LGBTI developments in a particular European country or sub-region, the Annual Review gives clear information about government and legal commitments in that country, and a picture of how this has developed over the past 15 years. It provides a clear picture behind the information provided in the Rainbow Map & Index, so that reporting can have depth of understanding.
How can activists use the Rainbow Map & Index?
The Rainbow Map & Index provides a clear comparative overview of legislation to protect human rights of LGBTI people across our region. Activists can use the map to showcase to their governments how they are performing compared to other countries in Europe and Central Asia, showing how many countries have moved to raise standards in a certain area and adopted comprehensive legislation. The map can also be used as a roadmap for the work activists expect their governments to do to achieve equal protection and rights.
How can policy-makers use the Rainbow Map?
The Rainbow Map allows policymakers to get a good sense of how their country is performing on the legal protection of LGBTI people in comparison to other countries in Europe and Central Asia. It shows the state of the art of legislation protecting the rights of LGBTI people and helps them identify good practice examples in law and policy making. The Rainbow Index provides links to the legislative texts, which is a rich source of information for policy-makers working on legislation in their countries.
How is information collected for the Annual Review?
ILGA-Europe staff monitor international and national media in search of news about or impacting LGBTI people throughout the year, as well as events reported by members and legal developments from previous years.
Experts in each country verify and clarify the relevant information, and add information that is not already there.
What are the sources of information?
The sources of information are media, national governments, international institutions, local and international human rights organisations and LGBTI activists across Europe and Central Asia. The Annual Review includes all links to the original sources of information.
How is a ‘country expert’ determined?
A country expert is a person monitoring events and legislation impacting LGBTI communities in a specific country all year long as part of their regular work. Country experts are human rights activists but also academic researchers, lawyers and journalists. Officers and representatives of international organisations working with specific communities in the LGBTI movement (such as lesbian communities or trans communities) are also consulted in the elaboration of the Annual Review.
Most country experts belong to member organisations of ILGA-Europe. They and ILGA-Europe’s board and staff can recommend new potential country experts on an on-going basis.
Each year we reach out to the country experts who participated in the previous edition and are willing to continue.
How do we fact-check the information?
We fact-check the information with the original sources and country-experts.
How do we select the headings/themes for reporting?
The ILGA-Europe team, informed by the developments and advocates in the region, advises what headlines to keep, change or dismiss from one year to the next.
How can journalists use the Annual Review?
In reporting on the human rights situation for LGBTI people in Europe and Central Asia, journalists can access a wealth of narrative information about ongoing policy and legislative developments, alongside events, happening in each country in Europe and Central Asia, under a number of headings. It provides this information on an annual basis, but the content is historically based and gives an overall picture of developments of the past number of years. While the Rainbow Map provides legal and policy developments, the Annual Review provides the stories behind those developments, which have been verified by experts in each country.
How can activists use the Annual Review?
In addition to the overview of the legal situation in a country provided by the Rainbow Map, the annual review tells the story of the political and social developments regarding the protection of the human rights of LGBTI people in a country. The Annual Review helps activists to put individual incidents and developments in a context and tell a story of the situation in their country. It offers an annual fact-checked documentation that activists can rely on and refer to in their work.
How can policy-makers use the Annual Review?
The annual review gives in-depth fact checked information about the developments in 54 countries, and is thus a reference document policy-makers, especially on European and international level, can use when working on the protection of the human rights of LGBTI people.
In addition, the information in the Annual Review can also be checked by headlines, giving an important overview over developments regarding, for example, the protection of LGBTI refugees over the last 12 months. The Annual Review helps identify and substantiate trends, opportunities and threats that are emerging across Europe and Central Asia, that policy-makers need to address in their work.