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European Union says US states are ‘breaking human rights treaty’ with anti-LGBT laws

Nick Duffy May 17, 2016

The European Union has warned that North Carolina and Mississippi are violating a human rights treaty with anti-LGBT legislation.

The two states have attracted scrutiny for passing laws rolling back vital LGBT anti-discrimination protections, ostensibly with the goal of stopping trans women from using men’s bathrooms.

But the over-reaching laws have led to condemnation from across the world, with the UK government updating its own travel advice to warn LGBT people they may face discriminatory treatment in the states.

In a statement posted this week, the European Union weighed into the row, suggesting the laws violate a human rights agreement.

A spokesperson for the EU said: “The recently adopted laws including in the states of Mississippi, North Carolina and Tennessee, which discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons in the United States contravene the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which the US is a State party, and which states that the law shall prohibit any discrimination and guarantee to all persons equal and effective protection.

“As a consequence, cultural, traditional or religious values cannot be invoked to justify any form of discrimination, including discrimination against LGBTI persons.

“These laws should be reconsidered as soon as possible.

“The European Union reaffirms its commitment to the equality and dignity of all human beings irrespective of their sexual orientation and gender identity.

“We will continue to work to end all forms of discrimination and to counter attempts to embed or enhance discrimination wherever it occurs around the world.”

The tourist boards of Mississippi and North Carolina have both warned that their industries have been hit.

The Mississippi Tourist Association said: “Our industry is made up of large and small businesses that employ over 115,000 Mississippians, each who cherish the individual freedoms that have made America great. But, with this freedom comes responsibility, and we believe that we must take the responsibility to reiterate the Mississippi Tourism Industry’s message of welcome that is the hallmark of our great state.

“As the industry on the front line, cheerfully welcoming visitors to our home, we are redoubling our efforts to demonstrate that Mississippi is, indeed, the Hospitality State.”

North Carolina’s tourism authority, the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, said that businesses have expressed reservations. These include PayPal and Deutsche Bank, which have stopped plans to create jobs in North Carolina.

“The Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina recognises there are varied opinions on House Bill 2. As a private non-profit organisation that operates under contract with state government, we typically do not comment on matters of public policy.

“We are confident our state’s lawmakers and governor will work together to consider ways to best address the concerns of all parties affected by this legislation, and we encourage a timely resolution of this matter.”

More: EU, Europe, European Union, LGBT, Mississippi, North Carolina, US

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