Statement by Human Rights Commissioner Luise Amtsberg on the International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersex Discrimination and Transphobia

17.05.2023 - Press release

Even though we are all different, we are all equal with respect to our human rights and the inviolability of our human dignity. But what is set out in Germany’s Basic Law and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights can still not be taken for granted by many queer people: in more than 60 countries, queer people face the threat of prosecution – and in at least seven countries being queer is punishable by death. Worldwide, they face stigmatisation, social exclusion and violence.

Also in Germany, six years after the introduction of same-sex marriage, not everything is as it should be. For example, there was a further rise in attacks on queer people in 2022, with a total of 1400 registered incidents. A significant number of such attacks go unreported; every day, queer people are insulted, marginalised and threatened. LGBTQI+ people who face multiple forms of discrimination are especially affected – as is the case for transgender BIPoC people. Regarding the outdated Transsexual Act and efforts that are underway to replace it with a Gender Autonomy Act, we are moving in the right direction to finally end the regulatory discrimination and undignified procedures to which queer people have been subjected until now.

Around the world, we are currently witnessing a pushback against the rights of queer people. Hard-fought progress on equal rights is in danger of being lost. In several countries, laws could be passed that would criminalise consensual same-sex relationships. I am currently deeply worried about Uganda in particular, where the legal situation may deteriorate dramatically due to some of the strongest and draconic anti‑queer legislation in the world. Already now, there are reports of an increase in hate speech, violence and the persecution of queer people in Uganda.

If the law enters into force, LGBTQI+ people could, under certain circumstances, face the death penalty. The German Government is of the opinion that this legislative proposal runs counter to Uganda’s international human rights commitments, and we are campaigning to prevent the proposal from becoming law. We are in close contact with civil society and affected individuals in Uganda on this issue.

We campaign for the rights of queer people – 365 days a year. This is one aspect of our feminist foreign policy. Germany and Mexico currently co‑chair the Equal Rights Coalition, which works to combat violence and discrimination directed against queer people.

I want to thank the many activists who today are standing up for the rights of queer people, fighting for visibility, resilience and solidarity. I want to say clearly that at stake here is every individual’s right to develop freely and to live without fear of violence and discrimination, no matter who they are or whom they love.

Together always: united in diversity. That’s what we support.


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