Discrimination and violence on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity exist in all societies. Often they are exacerbated by other forms of violence, hatred and discrimination, for example on the basis of ethnicity, age, religion or disabilities. The COVID-19 pandemic has made the situation even harder for LGBTI people across the world.
Strategy drawn up in close cooperation with civil society
The Federal Foreign Office and the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development therefore drew up an LGBTI Inclusion Strategy in close cooperation with civil society. The Strategy states that the human rights of LGBTI people are consistently to be taken into account in foreign policy and development cooperation. It is designed to strengthen civil-society organisations which work at local, regional, supraregional or international level to safeguard the human rights of LGBTI people and to combat discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. The Strategy takes up key demands from civil society, for instance that LGBTI issues be embedded in the context of human rights, or that special emphasis be placed on the particular vulnerability of minors.
The LGBTI Inclusion Strategy implements the pledge made by the Federal Government in the National Action Plan Against Racism and is a contribution towards attaining the Sustainable Development Goals, in particular the central promise of the 2030 Agenda: to “leave no one behind”. Within the scope of the international human rights dialogue, the Federal Government plays a trailblazing role in ensuring that the human rights of LGBTI people are guaranteed.
Human rights basis for the inclusion of LGBTI people in foreign policy
Human rights are inalienable and universal. Discrimination against LGBTI people is not compatible with Art. 3 of Germany’s Basic Law. At EU level, Art. 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights also contains a general prohibition of discrimination. Moreover, Art. 21 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights expressly prohibits discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation.
The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity with the ban on discrimination on the grounds of “other status” (Art. 26, Art. 2 (1) ICCPR, Art. 2 (2) ICESCR). The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Art. 2) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (esp. Art. 2) also express the principle of non-discrimination. The UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights has now specifically stated in its General Comments Nos. 20, 22 and 23 that sexual orientation and gender identity are prohibited grounds of discrimination.