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On Saturday September 8th three delegates of the fourth European Transgender Council where verbally harassed and physically attacked in the streets of Dublin when they were on their way to the conference party. One of the victims was Lauri Sivonen, Advisor to the Commissioner of Human Rights of the Council of Europe.
The attack shows striking similarities with an incident that occurred at the Third Transgender Council held in Malmoe (Sweden) in 2010 when delegates from Turkey where beaten up in front of a restaurant.
“This incidence is shocking for the whole conference” said just reelected co-chair of TGEU Wiktor Dynarski, “it leaves a bitter taste and again shows that there is no safe space for Transgender People in Europe.”
The motto of the Council is “Trans Rights Now: Realizing Recognition, Respect and Equality” and was organized by Transgender Europe in conjunction with Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI) and other local groups in Dublin. Over 250 activists and delegates from almost 40 countries reeceived a warm welcome to Ireland on Friday morning in the opening ceremony.
“This was an appalling incident. Ireland was delighted to host the Council and we have received an exceptional welcome from President Michael D. Higgins and the Lord Mayor of Dublin. Clearly there is a tremendous body of work to make our streets safe for all trans people,” said TENI Director Broden Giambrone.
This is the largest European Human rights event on transgender issues and one of the main themes is addressing hate crimes and violence. In the last four years 53 transgender people were reported murdered in Europe according to TGEU's Transrespect versus Transphobia Worldwide project. 79% of trans people have experienced negative comments, harassment, physical and sexual abuse and violence according to the European Hate Crime Study published by Press for Change in 2010. Violence and harassment are part of everyday life for most trans people.
Transgender Europe expresses its solidarity with our friends and all victims of violence in Europe.
“We are sad and angry and call upon An Garda Síochána to do everything to prosecute the perpetrators. Last night's attack showed once more that transphobia and racism are not only a problem of certain countries in Europe. Transphobia is everywhere”, says Kemal Ördek TGEU Steering Committee member and one of the victims of the attack.