Malta tops European LGBTI rights index for fourth year running

The Rainbow Index places Malta top among 49 European countries with a score of 90% but country lacks policies dealing with LGBTI asylum seekers

Malta has achieved a score of 90% on the Rainbow Index that analysed 69 legal and policy areas
Malta has achieved a score of 90% on the Rainbow Index that analysed 69 legal and policy areas

Protection for LGBTI asylum seekers still has to improve as Malta is confirmed Europe’s best human rights performer for the fourth year running by gay advocacy group ILGA-Europe.

The Rainbow Index released today placed Malta first among 49 European countries analysed by the advocacy group.

With a score of 90%, this is the fourth year in a row that Malta has come first in the index that determines whether countries have achieved certain human rights criteria.

The index covers 69 criteria split among six categories: Equality and non-discrimination; family; hate crime and hate speech, legal gender recognition and bodily integrity, civil society space and asylum.

In four of these categories – family, hate crime, legal gender recognition and civil society space – Malta achieved full marks.

In the area of equality, Malta scored 80%, since it still lacks a law against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in the provision of goods and services. In the field of asylum, Malta scored a poorly 33% because it still lacks a policy dealing with sexual orientation, gender identity and intersex.

Malta has moved forward in leaps and bounds through various legislative and policy initiatives over the past five years.

Only last year, the law regulating in-vitro fertilisation was changed to make it possible for lesbian couples to conceive after gamete donation was made legal. In 2017, Malta introduced marriage equality that allowed gay couples to get married.

Belgium placed second with a score of 73%, followed by Luxembourg with 70%. Armenia (7%), Turkey (5%) and Azerbaijan (3%) occupied the bottom three spots in the index.

The Equality Ministry welcomed the classification, which it said was the result of the government’s reformist agenda.

It said the directorate for human rights within the ministry had now set up a special branch with the aim of tackling the few remaining criteria to ensure Malta achieved 100% in the index.
“Beyond the legal aspect, the government wants to strengthen its policies to ensure better integration of matters linked to sexual orientation in all its operations and departments,” the ministry said, adding it wanted to serve as a reference point for the private sector.

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