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IDAHOT + Forum 2019 in Oslo

The International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT +/IDAHOTB) is observed globally on the 17th of May. In Norway, the day was marked with the IDAHOT + Forum 2019, a European conference held in Oslo from 13th to 15th of May 2019 and hosted by the Norwegian Government, represented by Minister of Culture and Equality Trine Skei Grande.

IDAHOT + Forum is an annual event for the European Governmental LGBTI Focal Points Network (EPFN). Following the recent inclusion of Andorra, Bulgaria and Kosovo, the network now counts 34 members.

Conference attendees on the steps of Oslo City Hall.
Conference attendees on the steps of Oslo City Hall in connection with a dinner reception held during the conference in Oslo. Credit: Jarle Nyttingnes/Ministry of Culture

This year for the first time, the event was hosted by the Norwegian Government, represented by Minister of Culture and Equality, Trine Skei Grande,. In addition to the member countries and other countries outside Europe, the conference was attended by representatives from civil society, the Council of Europe, the EU, the OECD and UNAIDS, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, ILGA Europe, OII Europe, IGYO Europe and Trans.

The IDAHOT + Forum 2019 had the title LGBTIQ-policies on the move. Challenges and next steps. For the first time, previously established LGBTIQ rights are being reversed in some European countries. This gives cause for concern.

IDAHOT + 2019 Oslo Declaration (October 2019)(.pdf) 

An important outcome of this year’s conference is the IDAHOT + 2019 Oslo Declaration, a political declaration in which multiple countries have undertaken to:

  1. Adopt all necessary measures to ensure and promote sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, and sex characteristics equality at the international, regional and national levels, including the support and adoption of legislation and strategies.
  2. Make available the appropriate human and financial resources to the work on sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, and sex characteristics equality;
  1. Ensure that intergovernmental bodies have a mandate to mainstream sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, and sex characteristics equality into relevant policies, law- and research-initiatives.

Twenty-two of the countries represented at the conference have signed the declaration, which will remain open for signature until the end of this year (2019) to secure the broadest possible support.

Minister of Culture and Equality Trine Skei Grande and UK Minister of State for Equalities Baroness Williams of Trafford on stage holding a big rainbow banner between them.
Minister of Culture and Equality Trine Skei Grande handing the rainbow banner to UK Minister of State for Equalities Baroness Williams of Trafford. Credit: Jarle Nyttingnes/Ministry of Culture

Next year IDAHOT + Forum 2020 will be hosted by the United Kingdom. At the end of the conference Minister of Culture and Equality Trine Skei Grande passed the IDAHOT + Forum baton to UK Minister of State for Equalities Baroness Williams of Trafford.

Footage from the IDAHOT + Forum conference on 13 May is available here.

Read Council of Europe Secretary general Thorbjørn Jagland's statement marking IDAHOTB on 17th May: All lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex persons must be protected from discrimination in law and practice

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