Dear ladies and gentlemen, dear friends, dear allies and excellencies
In June 2007 Lesbian and Gay Federation in Germany LSVD founded its human rights foundation, the Hirschfeld-Eddy-Stiftung, to bundle the human rights activities of our organisation. The aims of the foundation are the promotion of the respect of human rights of LGBTI, the support of international human rights activities and human rights defenders and the tackling of prejudice and discrimination.
In light of our history, we believe that Germany has a special responsibility to lobby internationally for the human rights of LGBTI and to fund LGBTI projects. Activists all over the world stand up for their rights. They point out that human rights are universal and indivisible. Of course this activism is taking place in all the countries of Western Balkans and in Turkey as well. This region has seen LGBTI activsm for many years and one can see it is really a successful work that is being done here.
Last year in September during our conference „Democracy for All: Political Participation of LGBTI persons in the Western Balkans” that took place in Belgrade the LGBTI Equal Rights Association ERA was founded and this was really a milestone for the region.
I am happy that this year again with the support of the German government we can organize this important conference here in Pristina. This kind of conferences is an important tool to sensitize societies, to build alliances between the LGBTI movement and CSOs and governments. I am glad that so many activists, CSO representatives, founders and government representatives from 15 countries take part here. And I am happy that the Government of Kosovo is represented and actively taking part in this conference. Thanks for this commitment.
Today we gather here in Pristina to speak about the application of law, about the real implementation of good, positive and necessary legislation in order to really increase the acceptance, the social and political inclusion of LGBTI people in our societies. This issue is a human rights question and a question that concerns every citizen, not only LGBTI. The protection and inclusion of minorities, the way a society deals with LGBTI people is a very sensitive question that really can illustrate the advances, the maturity of a democracy
Every human being should have equal rights and equal protection. If not, we speak about discrimination. And discrimination is poison for the peaceful and harmonious living together in a society.
To our funders and supporters I would like to say: Please continue your efforts. It means important and successful commitment.
I would like to invite and encourage our allies from politics to do human rights politics and to implement positive legislation. Please continue to contribute to increase the visibility of LGBTI and contribute to make this issue a mayor concern within your parties, governments and parliaments.
And to my follow activists I would like to say: Please continue with your work. It is so important, so satisfying, so promising. It is worth doing it. You will benefit from the results of your remarkable and honourable work.
I wish us an interesting and stimulating conference.
Thank you very much