Statement by Human Rights Commissioner Strässer on the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia

17.05.2014 - Press release

Christoph Strässer, the Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid, issued the following statement today (17 May 2014) on the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia:

Today’s International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia is another occasion on which to remind ourselves that, despite many movements in support for this group, the recognition of LGBTI rights is facing setbacks in many parts of the world.

I have the impression that the discussion of the legal and social recognition of homosexuality and transsexuality is now much more to the fore than it has been in recent years, and this I fundamentally welcome. Unfortunately, however, the reasons for this have mostly been negative – the recent entry into force of the Anti-Homosexuality Act in Uganda, for example. This makes Conchita Wurst’s victory in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest all the more gratifying, as it shows that tolerance and openness are possible in Europe.

Homosexual, bisexual, transsexual and intersexual people the world over have, like everyone else, a right to dignity and the protection of their privacy. While they live in fear of oppression, violence, discrimination or persecution, they cannot be said to enjoy these fundamental rights.

We have limited instruments at our disposal to achieve such global freedom from discrimination. We can only keep on reiterating our position and advocating cooperation and a frank exchange of views. On 20 May the Federal Foreign Office and the Salzburg Global LGBT Forum will be holding a public debate to discuss long-term approaches to ensuring lasting support for LGBT and human rights organisations throughout the world. Members of LGBT and human rights groups from China, Germany, India, Lebanon, Russia, Uganda, the UK and the USA will discuss topical issues in this field with representatives of the Federal Foreign Office.

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