Michael Roth, Minister of State for Europe at the Federal Foreign Office, today opened the meeting of the Global Equality Fund. 18 states as well as non governmental organisations and businesses are members of the Fund which was set up by the US Administration in 2011 and promotes projects to protect LGBTI persons from violence and discrimination around the world. This is the first time the annual meeting is being held in Berlin.
Persecution but also progress
In his opening speech, Minister of State Michael Roth pointed out that a third of the global population still live in countries in which homosexuals face the threat of criminal prosecution, in several countries even the death penalty. At the same time, he emphasised the considerable progress that has been made in some regions of the world, for example in the Western Balkans.
Just a few years ago, LGBTI parades were banned in the region’s capitals – today heads of government are joining ranks with those demonstrating for equal rights and against discrimination.
Engagement for LGBTI persons in foreign policy
As part of its human rights policy, the Federal Foreign Office supports a number of projects to promote the rights of LGBTI persons, at the current time in countries such as Russia, Ukraine, Latvia, Cameroon, the Republic of the Congo, Tunisia and Sri Lanka. Close coordination with partners in the Global Equality Fund means better and more effective support can be provided for local organisations. The guiding principle behind the work is the belief that all people have the same human rights regardless of their sexual orientation and gender identity.