Finally! The German government approves an LGBTI inclusion plan for foreign policy and development cooperation

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scroll down for press review and background links

With this joint plan from the Foreign Office and Ministry for Economic Cooperation, the German government acts on calls from civil society since 2012.

On 3 March 2021 the cabinet approved the federal government’s “LGBTI inclusion plan for foreign policy and development cooperation”.

The German government has thereby committed itself to making the protection of LGBTI human rights an integral part of its foreign policy and development cooperation.

Produced jointly by the Foreign Office (AA) and the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the inclusion plan implements requests made for years by the Lesbian and Gay Federation in Germany (LSVD), the Hirschfeld-Eddy Foundation and the Yogyakarta Alliance  civil society initiative.

It incorporates many of the requirements listed in our 13-point paper (in English):

Comprehensive cooperation with local civil society

This approach should provide sustainable support to civil society organisations working for LGBTI rights in partner countries. Homosexuality is often criminalised or a taboo in these countries, so efforts here will focus on targeted support for regional civil society organizations that combat discrimination locally.

Missionary history and responsibility for colonialism

Michael Roth MdB

Of note is the inclusion plan’s reference to missionary history and the responsibility for colonialism – a point of special importance to the Hirschfeld-Eddy Foundation, LSVD and Yogyakarta Alliance. This is the only conceivable way to pursue credible development cooperation and international policies for LGBTI people. Activists from the respective countries have shown that LGBTI histories, life stories and traditions are present everywhere in the world. And that decriminalisation is always an aspect of decolonialisation.*

Heiko Maas MdB

Germany, which is one of the world’s largest donor countries, is thereby assuming responsibility for protecting and improving the lives of LGBTI people in partner countries.

The inclusion plan also means that the federal government has formulated a strong position on human rights. The “Leave no one behind” principle underlying the Sustainable Development Goals in the UN’s Agenda 2030 will now cover LGBTI people too.

Sarah Kohrt, LGBTI Platform Human Rights at the Hirschfeld-Eddy Foundation, Yogyakarta Alliance Coordinator

Press review

Vorwärts.de: 17.05.2021 Foreign Minister Heiko Maas against homophobia and on the LGBTI-inclusion concept: “Love is not a crime” Artikel, (German) 17.5.21

taz.de: Minister of State Michael Roth (SPD) on the LGBTI inclusion plan: “Everyone has to take a stand” German foreign policy should play a stronger role in protecting sexual minorities. Minister of State Michael Roth explains the background to the cabinet decision, interview (in German) 3 March 2021

queer.de: The federal government intends to promote LGBTI rights worldwide. Following several other western countries, Germany has now also presented a plan to protect the basic rights of queer people in its foreign policy, article (in German) 3 March 2021

mannschaft.de: More protection for LGBTI people abroad – an inclusion plan is coming! — the federal government seeks to sustainably support work by civil society for queers in partner countries, article (in German) 2 March 2021

evangelisch.de: “Cultures and colonialism — Diversity and inclusion as new maxims for development cooperation”, article (in German) 3 March 2021

Welt-Sichten: Die Bundesregierung verabschiedet ein außen- und entwicklungspolitisches LSBTI-Konzept. Die queere Community fordert das schon lange. Artikel (in Germen) 29 March 21

Worldlawreporter: Germany: New Policy to Champion LGBTI Rights Abroad (article 31.3.21)

Human Rights Watch Blog: Germany: New Policy to Champion LGBTI Rights Abroad — Expands Commitments in Foreign Policy, Aid

Press release from the LSVD/Hirschfeld-Eddy Foundation (in German) , 2 March 2021

Press release from the Bundesverband Trans* (trans* federation Germany), (in German), 2 March 2021

Links with background information

  • Chronology of the LGBTI* inclusion plan (English) for German foreign policy and development cooperation ‒ from calls by civil society calls to a government paper (point 10: “Cultures and colonialism”)
  • Website of the Yogyakarta Alliance (English and German)
  • Article 2018 Heinrich-Böll-Foundation´s blog: “The Yogyakarta Alliance: A Postcolonial League” — Development work needs postcolonial impulses. A serious and critical examination of the German colonial history needs a concept of inclusion for LSBTIQ in development cooperation
  • All blog posts on this topic are listed under the tag “inclusion plan” (English and German)

* Botswana is a telling example. Its High Court struck down the prohibition on homosexual acts in June 2019 following years of pressure by groups in the country. The court’s decision makes reference to how the prohibition came into being: “The offence of ’sodomy’ was imported into the British colonies between the 17th and 20th centuries.” The decision therefore also represents a rejection of homophobic colonial criminal law. More information here. (English and German)



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