Athens, February 1, 2022
Subject: «The GTSA expresses its particular satisfaction with the inclusion of trans persons in the new Joint Ministerial Decision on emergency measures to control and protect public health from the risk of further spread of COVID-19»
The Greek Transgender Support Association (GTSA), is a voluntary non-governmental organization that promotes the rights and freedoms of trans, gender-diverse, and LGBTI persons in general, as well as sex workers, with this press release expresses its satisfaction with the issuance of the new Joint Ministerial Decision, regarding the identification of trans persons, due to the emergency control measures for the protection of public health from the risk of further spread of the coronavirus.
On January 27, 2022, a teleconference was held on “Identification of transgender / trans persons due to the emergency control measures for COVID-19”, in which participated:
The Minister of State Mr. Georgios Gerapetritis and the Head of Justice SYRIZA, Drama MP Mr. Theofilos Xanthopoulos, while the Transgender Support Association (GTSA) was represented by the General Secretary, Kimon Melikertis and Anna Apergi-Konstantinidi, Director of GTSA.
During the conference, the representatives of the GTSA initially raised all the issues that arose in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, focusing on the challenges that arose regarding the identification of public documents of trans persons due to the emergency control measures.
Specifically, due to the fact that the identification controls are carried out not only by the police authorities, but also by citizens to other citizens, the representatives of the GTSA drew attention to the Minister of State Mr. Gerapetritis, and to the Head of Justice SYRIZA Mr. Xanthopoulos, so that these controls are carried out on the one hand without creating problems for trans persons, on the other hand to be carried out with the utmost care and sensitivity to their personal data and with respect for their personality, especially for trans persons whose legal documents have not been subjected to the process of legal recognition of gender identity.
A detailed Memorandum was also submitted on the need to include trans persons in the new JMD for emergency measures to protect public health from the risk of further spread of COVID-19 coronavirus, so that trans persons have adequate protection from the State.
On this we should note that:
In April 2020, the Council of Europe (CoE) issued Guidelines due to the COVID-19 pandemic to Member States on respect for human rights and the rule of law. In particular, the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Marija Pejcinovic Buric, issued a tool for governments throughout the European Union, including our country, on respect for human rights, democracy and the rule of law in crisis of COVID-19.
The document covers four key areas, including the protection of personal data and the protection of vulnerable groups from discrimination. Specifically, in Chapter 3, par. 4 states:
[…]3.4. Prohibition of discrimination (Article 14 Convention and Article 1, Protocol No. 12, Article E of the European Social Charter) and standards relating to diversity and inclusion, points out “Moreover, the fact of not taking into account the specific needs of persons belonging to a disadvantaged group may result in discrimination. The prohibition of discrimination may thus entail obligations to take positive measures to achieve substantive equality[…]
Also, according to the guidance tools of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and other stakeholders on COVID-19 and the human rights of LGBTI people, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet refers that:
[…]States should recognize that LGBTI people are among those particularly vulnerable in this crisis, and take targeted steps to ensure that they are taken into consideration and their voices heard when addressing the pandemic” where in paragraph 6 for movement restriction measures “should provide protection for trans and gender non-conforming persons. Law enforcement officials should be instructed and trained not to discriminate against this population[…]
Finally, according to the recommendations of the National Commission for Human Rights (GNCHR), an independent advisory body of the Greek State and the National Institution for the protection of Human Rights, as it stated in the Memorandum submitted to the Commission for the drafting of the National Plan for Equality of LGBTQI +:
[…]Impact of the pandemic and restrictive measures on the rights of LGBTQ + persons
The GNCHR made the following recommendations:
- Take action to address the multiple forms of discrimination suffered by LGBTQI + persons and to combat the impact of the pandemic on the enjoyment of their rights, by integrating the particular needs and challenges they face in the design, implementation and evaluation of measures to limit the spread of coronavirus.
- Take measures to protect LGBTQI + persons from violence and discrimination and to prosecute and punish perpetrators, while ensuring the continued operation of support systems and access to justice.
- Inclusion of LGBTQI + persons in the process of planning, implementation and evaluation of measures to address the pandemic. […]
The Minister responded positively to everything that was presented to him during the meeting, as a result of which the trans persons were included in the new Joint Ministerial Decision on the emergency measures for the protection of public health from the risk of further spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.
Specifically, with the number ΔΙα/Γ.Π.οικ. 4761/2022 Joint Ministerial Decision, published in the Government Gazette 290/Β/29-1-2022, “Emergency measures to protect public health from the risk of further spread of the coronavirus COVID-19 in the whole Territory, for the period from Monday , 31 January 2022 and time 6:00 until Monday, 7 February 2022 and time 6:00 “, it is decided that the identification of trans persons during the control process by the competent authorities of control and imposition of sanctions (as referred to in Article 3 of JMD), should take into account the acceptance of the trans person’s statement of their gender identity, ie the verbal confirmation of the persons that they are exactly the same persons identified by their documents, regardless of the fact that their documents have not been submitted in the process of legal recognition of gender identity.
In particular it is mentioned that:
Article 9 (Validity – Special and repealed provisions), par. 7.
[…] During the application of the present, if the identification documents of the audited person have the gender and the name given at birth and do not have the data that attribute the gender identity based on par. 1 of article 2 of law 4491/2017 (A ‘152), the competent authorities and the audit bodies must fully accept the verbal confirmation of the person that is the same person identified with the document, regardless of whether the audited person has been subjected to the process of legal recognition of gender identity, according to article 4 of law 4491/2017 […]
It is worth noting that this new JMD comes in full agreement with the Order of the Greek Police “Identification of trans / transgender persons in accordance with the emergency measures to protect public health from the risk of further spread of the coronavirus” (1244/ 21/2674724), according to which the identification of trans persons during the control procedure by the Greek Police should be carried out, taking into account the acceptance of the trans persons’s statement regarding their gender identity, ie the verbal confirmation of the persons that they are the same persons identified with the documents, regardless of the fact that their documents have not been submitted in the process of legal recognition of gender identity.
The Greek Transgender Support Association expresses its special satisfaction for this positive development that is in full compliance with Article 1, par. 1 of Law 4491/2017 (legal recognition of gender identity) which ensures recognition and respect based on the gender identity of each person, , while at the same time highlights once again the need to amend the current legislation on the legal recognition of gender identity, so that the process becomes extrajudicial, fast and accessible, in accordance with the standards set by the Council of Europe (CoE).
The GTSA will continue to work for the implementation of equal treatment and for the absolute respect of the personality and identity of trans, gender diverse, intersex and for LGBTQI persons, in general.
The Greek Transgender Support Association, since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in our country, has taken all possible initiatives to support trans, gender diverse, intersex and LGBTI persons in general, as well as persons who work in sex, for their adequate protection.
THE BOARD OF MEMBERS
GREEK TRANSGENDER SUPPORT ASSOCIATION
79 Sygrou Street, 3rd floor, Athens, 11745
Office hours: Monday to Friday
09.00-14.00 & 17.00-20.00
http://www.tgender.gr – http://www.transgender-association.gr/
email@example.com – firstname.lastname@example.org
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