The Malta Independent 22 May 2019, Wednesday

Civil Liberties Minister Helena Dalli addresses Council of Europe parliamentary assembly

Thursday, 23 April 2015, 15:11 Last update: about 5 years ago

Minister for Social Dialogue, Consumer Affairs and Civil Liberties Dr Helena Dalli was invited to address the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on the Gender Identity, Gender Expression and Sex Characteristics Bill that was recently enacted in Malta.

Minister Dalli was welcomed by the President of the European Assembly Anne Brasseur. Talks were held between Mme Brasseur and Dr Dalli on human rights and immigration.

Minister Dalli then addressed the Council of Europe. She spoke about the positive impact that the adoption of the Gender Identity Bill will have on the lives of trans, genderqueer and intersex people. She explained how these individuals endured extra hardships, different forms of discrimination and social exclusion due to the State’s denial of their rights to have documents that reflect their gender and name.

Dr Dalli explained how according to estimates of Amnesty International, there are around one and a half million transgender people in Europe. They can live better lives if the respective governments across Europe implement the Council of Europe’s resolution on the rights of transgender people and introduce legislation providing for the ability to change legal gender within a human rights framework.

“Today, you too as members of this Assembly can make history,” said Minister Dalli.

She emphasised how human rights are universal and indivisible and that everyone is born free and equal in dignity and rights. In this regard, Dr Dalli explained how a vote in favour of the resolution would mean an affirmation that all individuals have a gender identity, whether they are aware of it or not, and that all of them have a right to have it respected by others.

“Malta has turned around its national image in this area of policy and we have been told that we are now regarded as a beacon of light and hope. If we did it, then you can do it too,” concluded Dr Dalli.

The draft resolution on discrimination against transgender people in Europe authored by the Rapporteur of the Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination, Dr Deborah Schembri was approved by a huge majority.

Earlier, Dr Dalli inaugurated an exhibition hosted by the German embassy for France at the Council of Europe Headquarters entitled “Transgender in Labour and Employment”.

The Maltese delegation headed by Minister Dalli hosted a reception for Members of the Parliamentary Assembly, Ambassadors of the Council of Europe Member States and human rights NGOs.

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