Außenpolitik ist immer auch Menschenrechtspolitik – sie sollte es zumindest sein. In Deutschland hat die Außenpolitik andere Schwerpunkte, der gegenwärtige Darsteller des Bundesministers des Äußeren demonstriert es gerade lautstark; seine Vorgänger waren inhaltlich nicht besser, nur leiser.
Anders in Großbritannien: Das dortige Foreign & Commonwealth Office hat sich den Einsatz für Menschenrechten auf die Fahnen geschrieben, und zwar weltweit. Zum Selbstverständnis des Foreign & Commonwealth Office gehört es, sich um die Belange schwuler und lesbischer Menschen im Ausland einzusetzen. Einmal jährlich erstattet der Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs über die Aktivitäten seiner Behörde Bericht. Ein paar Auszüge:
The increasing threat to gay people’s rights in some African countries reminds us that tolerance is a dream rather than a reality for much of the world’s population. (Vorwort)
Durban Review Conference
The UN Durban Review Conference took place from 20–24 April . Its objective was to review the implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action, agreed at the World Conference Against Racism in 2001. […] The UK engaged in the Durban Review Conference because we shared its principal objectives: to further the global fight against racism, and to review progress in this effort since 2001. […]
We are pleased that the final text clearly states that the Holocaust must never be forgotten and reaffirms the importance of the fight against anti-Semitism. We also successfully kept out language that sought to single out any particular country for criticism. At our insistence the text also includes references to multiple forms of discrimination, which we interpret to cover the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. The outcome document was adopted by consensus on 21 April. We believe it is a significant improvement on previous UN texts on racism, including that from the 2001 conference. (S 20)
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights
The UK believes that Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and the full range of human rights, without fear of discrimination. But this attitude is not universally shared. Over 70 countries still criminalise same-sex relationships. This illegality has an adverse effect on other areas of human rights: democratic governance and sustainable development cannot take place where groups of people are excluded from enjoying their civil liberties. Millions of LGBT people around the world continue to face challenges and human rights violations related to their sexual orientation and gender identity. Major concerns include physical violence, unlawful restrictions on freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and association, violation of the right to respect for private and family life, violation of the rights to education, work and health, and social stigmatisation. The UK looks to address these issues by playing a leading role in promoting the rights of LGBT people internationally, including through intergovernmental organisations, such as the EU, Council of Europe and UN, and our Embassies and High Commissions. In 2009, we joined in EU representations to the Lithuanian government on the potential effect that proposed changes to the Lithuanian Criminal and Administrative Codes could have on the LGBT community in Lithuania. We also worked closely with EU partners in lobbying the Ugandan government over an anti-homosexual private member’s bill, which, if enacted, would widen the definition of homosexuality, criminalise organisations that support homosexuality in Uganda, and do serious damage to efforts to tackle HIV. Our work is guided by our programme for promoting the human rights of LGBT people, which we launched in 2008. This includes an LGBT rights toolkit, which we encourage UK Embassies and High Commissions to use when advocating for the rights of LGBT people in their host country. It focuses on decriminalisation; non-discrimination in the application of human rights; supporting human rights defenders; and sexual health. In 2010, we will begin working with EU partners and civil society to develop an EU strategy, based on our own programme, to promote the human rights of LGBT people through the EU’s common foreign and security policy. We will work to ensure that this strategy both identifies opportunities for bilateral and multilateral progress, as well as making sure that the rights of LGBT people are raised systematically in EU external human rights dialogues. Within the Council of Europe, the UK played a key role in discussions of the recommendations by the Committee of Ministers on measures to combat discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, which we expect to be adopted in early 2010. We hope these will serve as a guidance document on sexual orientation and gender-identity discrimination issues for use in all Council of Europe Member States. Bilaterally, the UK has continued to work with other European governments to share our experience in drafting legislation providing for the recognition of civil partnerships. Through the UN Universal Periodic Review we raise our concerns on LGBT rights in specific countries. In February, for example, we pressed the government of Nigeria to explain its position on LGBT rights, how it tackles incidences of violence against LGBT people, and its plans for promoting further social inclusion. As a rule, we look to raise issues on the rights of LGBT people as a matter of course when a country of concern is under review. There were some positive developments on LGBT rights internationally in 2009. We welcomed confirmation from the Rwandan parliament on 22 December that an anti-homosexuality clause has been dropped from the penal code review, and hope that a similar resolution will be reached in relation to the private member’s bill introduced in Uganda. In July, the Delhi High Court in India struck down India’s 148-year old law banning homosexual acts. In December, Mexico City’s Legislative Assembly legalised same-sex marriages and adoption by same-sex couples and Austria legalised same-sex unions. We welcome these developments recognising the rights of LGBT people around the world.
Showing support for Pride marches
In 2009, UK Embassies across Central and Eastern Europe demonstrated our support for LGBT rights by taking part in Pride marches, flying the rainbow flag and speaking out in support. In Budapest, we coordinated a press release in support of the Budapest Pride organisers with 12 other Embassies from four continents, including the US and South Africa, and hosted a reception for those who had joined in the press release. Later, Embassy officials and family members joined in the Pride Parade. In Riga, we welcomed Baltic Pride by co-sponsoring a reception with a local NGO group and hosting tea for the march’s organisers. In Bucharest, the Embassy hosted a barbecue for local human rights activists, NGOs, politicians and the media to coincide with “GayFest” week; Embassy staff subsequently joined in the GayFest parade. In Sofia, the Embassy issued a statement of support to all those celebrating diversity at the Rainbow Friendship Rally. And in Warsaw we hosted a reception for the Polish Pride march organisers and provided them with a Polish translation of the FCO programme on Promoting the human rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people. A number of LGBT marchers expressed their gratitude for the various demonstrations of support shown by UK Embassies during Pride events. One said, “I cannot begin to tell you how proud I feel of my country (the UK) for doing this but one measure perhaps is that as I landed yesterday at Gatwick I had tears in my eyes. I cannot begin to tell you how much it means to me that my pride as a lesbian and my pride in my country are now no longer in conflict but by being together are in fact compounded.” We were dismayed by the hostile reception to many of these marches in 2009 and in some cases the violent attacks on their participants. During 2010, the UK Government will again offer its full support to LGBT people during Pride season. We hope that everyone who participates in the marches enjoys them as a celebration of human rights and as a statement against discrimination and persecution. (S 24 ff)
[…] In 2009, projects funded included the production of a training package and information pack on the risk of forced marriage for lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender young people and the writing and performance of a play on the subject to tour schools and raise awareness of the issue. (S 52)
[…] Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights We have received numerous reports of violence being committed against individuals because of their sexual orientation. It is difficult to obtain precise information. The 2009 Human Rights Watch (HRW) report highlighted examples of attacks being carried out by militia groups. However, official figures do not show a significant overall increase in violence against, or systematic abuse of, the homosexual community by fundamentalists or militia groups. The UK has raised concerns with the Iraqi Human Rights Minister who confirmed that homosexuality is not a criminal offence in Iraq. The Ministry of Interior has also stated that the killing of homosexuals is considered as murder, as it would be for any other individual, and the perpetrators will be prosecuted. We continue to monitor and discuss this issue with a range of NGOs, including a UK-based Iraqi LGBT group. In April, the former Foreign Office Minister, Bill Rammell, said: “The UK condemns the persecution of any individual because of their sexual orientation.” (S 123)
The death penalty retains significant public support in Saudi Arabia and there is little sign of any movement towards its abolition. There were 67 executions in 2009. This compares to 97 executions in 2008 and 157 in 2007. The death sentence continues to be applied for offences including homosexuality and “witchcraft”. In May and November, the EU made representations to the Saudi government about the number of executions carried out in the Kingdom. (S 143)