[WATCH] Malta strengthens top spot in European equality ranking for LGBTI people

The Rainbow Index released by European LGBTI advocacy group ILGA-Europe sees Malta retain the top spot for the third year running

Malta retained top spot in the Rainbow Index
Malta retained top spot in the Rainbow Index

For the third year running Malta has retained the top spot in the Rainbow Index, an equality classification by the European gay rights advocacy group ILGA.

With a score of 91%, Malta leads second-placed Belgium, which registered 78.8% on the index.

The index compiled by ILGA-Europe covers 49 European countries and measures legislative progress on equality for LGBTI people in various aspects of life, ranging from family rights to anti-discrimination provisions.

Malta’s top spot was further strengthened last year with the introduction of marriage equality and the X gender markers on official documentation for people’s passports and identity cards.

However, the country still lags behind in legal protection in the field of asylum and its score on family issues is still hampered by the lack of access to IVF for LGBTI people. The current legislative proposals to overhaul IVF legislation will, if approved, make it possible for lesbians to benefit from sperm and embryo donation, while gay men could benefit from surrogacy, to have their own child.

Equality Minister Helena Dalli said the results of the index represented a certificate for Malta’s efforts to ensure greater equality for its citizens.

“Every person should have a government that helps citizens fulfil their potential… every person who lives and works in Malta should be able to move forward,” Dalli said from Portugal.

In a tweet, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said Malta will persevere to do better.

In its short summary on Malta, while praising the country’s efforts to strengthen its ranking, ILGA-Europe said Maltese LGBTI groups reported 15 cases of online hate speech during a six-week monitoring exercise. “This is a wake-up call, reminding policymakers that intolerance can exist in countries at all levels on the Rainbow Europe ranking,” the European lobby group said.

Rainbow Index

The ranking is compiled by ILGA-Europe, an advocacy group, and covers 49 European countries

Top 5

1. Malta 91%

2. Belgium 78.8%

3. Norway 77.7%

4. UK 73.5%

5. Finland 73.3%…

Bottom 5

45. Russia 10.9%

46. Monaco 9.8%

47. Turkey 8.6%

48. Armenia 7.2%

49. Azerbaijan 4.7%