for the Hirschfeld Eddy Foundation’s online conference “Do no harm – but do something: Advance international LGBTI project work!” 3–4 November 2022
I too would like to welcome you most warmly to this online conference held by the Hirschfeld Eddy Foundation.
This concluding conference will combine and consolidate outcomes from the many workshops held by the Foundation this year under the guiding principle of “Do no harm – How to minimize risks in international project work.”
When donor countries fund clinics in Africa that conduct sexual orientation conversion therapies long prohibited in the donor countries themselves;
When support for small NGOs in developing countries leads to the stigmatisation and persecution of local activists;
When publishing photos of meetings with activists puts those activists in danger;
Then it is high time to critically examine one’s own actions! And that is precisely what the Hirschfeld Eddy Foundation seeks to achieve with its “Do No Harm” project.
The examples I mentioned show once again that even good intentions can lead to poor results. That’s why it’s so important that the Hirschfeld Eddy Foundation raises our awareness for pitfalls in project work with queer people – and also provides examples of successful practices we can learn from.
German organisations should not inadvertently foster the stigmatisation, persecution and discrimination of people involved with their work. That of course also applies to us as political actors – we all have to and want to provide support, but we need to be conscious and careful in so doing!
In 2001 the German Federal Government approved the LGBTI Inclusion Strategy for Foreign Policy and Development Cooperation. It thereby commits to integrating the concerns of queer people into its international policy on a comprehensive basis. We want to advance equal freedoms and rights worldwide. The goal for our society in Germany – and the world in general – is for queer people to be able to live freely without facing hostilities or discrimination in their everyday lives.
Yet foreign policy cannot achieve this goal on its own. It also takes experienced and culturally aware individuals who network with LGBTI people and their organisations in the global South and eastern Europe. The team at the Hirschfeld Eddy Foundation has been working together with queer people from around the world for 15 years now. In 2008, in just its second year, the foundation held a pioneering human rights conference in Kiev on non-discrimination and LGBTI in eastern Europe. Thanks to the people who work at and for it, the Hirschfeld Eddy Foundation has become a recognised and sought-after source of experience and evaluation. This conference therefore starts on the best possible groundwork.
I am greatly pleased that my organisation, the Federal Ministry of Justice, has been able to support projects run by the Hirschfeld Eddy Foundation since 2020. We are very happy to promote international human rights work pursued with such commitment by the foundation and its people!
Asserting and protecting LGBTI human rights – everywhere – is a major and ambitious goal! I therefore wish you two very productive days at this conference – and the Hirschfeld Eddy Foundation much success in its valuable work, now and in the future!
Thank you very much.
Translation: Hirschfeld Eddy Foundation
An event by Hirschfeld-Eddy-Foundation as part of the project: “Do no harm – how to minimize risks for LGBTIQ in international human rights work”. All Articles and documentation in our blog tagged DNH-2022.
Conference documentation here