EU Backs Harsher Hate Crime Penalties

In the strongest call to action to member states when it comes to gay rights, the European Union yesterday ruled 301-161-102 to pass a resolution calling for tougher laws on hate crimes. As we know from the United Nations, resolutions often end up being mere “suggestions” and not actionable law, but to have the EU behind the push for harsher penalties when it comes to anti-gay/Musliam/Jewish/etc.-motivated offenses is, undoubtedly, a significant step.

Parliament passed a resolution calling on all EU countries to toughen their laws to deal with hate crimes. The vote was 301 in favor to 161 against with 102 abstentions. Most of the abstentions came from from former Soviet states.

The resolution also calls on the Council of Europe to approve a proposal that has languished since 2001 that would explicitly ban “homophobic, anti-Semitic, Islamophobic and other types of offences motivated by phobia or hatred based on ethnicity, race, sexual orientation, religion or other irrational grounds.”

In addition the resolution urges, but falls short of requiring, all member states to effectively implement anti-discrimination directives and calls for Member States which fail to do so to be brought before the Court of Justice.

Meanwhile, the EU also took care of some other business: Calling on member states to deal with Russia’s human rights concerns, such as Moscow’s breaking up of a gay pride parade and arresting those involved.

EU Overwhelmingly Votes To Condemn Homophobia [365Gay]