What are LGBTQ rights

Welcome to the website of the Federal Foreign Office

Human rights include the right to free sexual orientation. Nevertheless, homosexuality is still a criminal offense in around 80 countries around the world. In some states, same-sex acts can even be punishable by the death penalty. But there has also been significant progress. In recent years, homosexuality has been decriminalized in many Latin American states, India and also some African states. In Southeastern European countries, LGBTI people have been protected from discrimination by new laws. These successes were largely achieved by courageous civil society activists.

The Federal Government opposes any discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and is consistently committed to combating discrimination and violence against lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transsexuals and intersexuals, in short: LGBTI people, after the international name "Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersexual Persons ”. She works closely with partners from civil society at home and abroad.

In 2007 in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, international experts developed 29 principles for the protection of the human rights of LGBTI people. Central concerns of these so-called “Yogyakarta Principles” are the fight against violence against homosexuals, an end to the criminal prosecution of homosexuality as well as access to education, the right to start a family, freedom of assembly and the right of asylum.

Germany is working closely with international partners to ensure that the human rights of LGBTI people are effective. Germany has been a member of the LGBTI core group in the United Nations since 2016. In the same year, Germany became a founding member of the Equal Rights Coalition, which campaigns for the issue worldwide. Germany is also a member of the Global Equality Fund. This fund supports projects for the human rights of LGBTI people worldwide.

LGBTI rights in the United Nations

An open and factual discussion about discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity is difficult in many countries and also within the United Nations.

Nevertheless, there were important milestones and successes on the subject within the United Nations:

  • the Declaration on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in Relation to Specific LGBTI Rights of December 2008, which has now been signed by 68 states;
  • the joint declaration adopted by the UN Human Rights Council in March 2011 on ending acts of violence and related human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity; the UN Human Rights Council resolution on human rights, sexual orientation and sexual identity, first adopted in June 2011;
  • the appointment of an independent expert from the United Nations in July 2016, who campaigns internationally for protection against discrimination and violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI). There is now an address for the rights of LGBTI people in the United Nations. The UN Human Rights Council extended its mandate for a further three years in July 2019.

Independent expert on protection against discrimination and violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity

Victor Madrigal-Borloz from Costa Rica was appointed as an Independent Expert for Protection against Discrimination and Violence based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in January 2018. It investigates cases of discrimination and violence against LGBTI people and develops proposals for the effective protection of their human rights.

European Union

In June 2013 the EU adopted the guidelines for the promotion and protection of the exercise of all human rights by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people.

It is on the basis of these guidelines that the EU reacts to human rights violations of LGBTI people. The focus is on measures to decriminalize and counteract discrimination against LGBTI people, as well as to protect and support human rights defenders who campaign for LGBTI rights.

Projects and bilateral cooperation

Especially in countries where the situation for LGBTI people is precarious, the Federal Foreign Office advocates for those affected. In its bilateral cooperation, the Federal Foreign Office has funded numerous projects to improve the human rights situation of LGBTI people. In 2019, the Federal Foreign Office sponsored numerous projects by local partners on the topic, including in Tunisia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Serbia, Albania and several West African countries. In 2020 projects are planned in Zambia, Namibia, Turkey, Hungary, Brazil, Ukraine, Albania, Serbia, Nicaragua and Tunisia. In addition, the Federal Foreign Office regularly organizes conferences together with the Hirschfeld Eddy Foundation to which LGBTI activists are invited in order to better coordinate their work.

A particularly high-profile project was the promotion of the film “Parada”, which addressed attacks on the so-called Pride Parade (demonstrations for the rights of LGBTI people). The film by the Serbian director Srdjan Dragojevic was shot in Serbia, Montenegro and Croatia. In 2012 he received the renowned Panorama Audience Award at the Berlinale. He started an important discussion in Southeastern Europe, which led to a gradual change in the social climate. In the meantime, successful Pride Parades take place annually in Belgrade, regularly with the participation of the Foreign Office.