Our International Work

Supporting the LGBTI movement in over 35 countries around the world

We support LGBTI groups in numerous countries in their efforts to build their own strong and confident LGBTI communities. We provide funding, coaching, training and access to international networks and intergovernmental bodies. We aim to work in longer term partnerships.

In many cases, LGBTI organisations can create social change at the national level by engaging with regional and international human rights mechanisms. COC shares its expertise on these mechanisms and its extensive international network with LGBTI groups, enabling them to advocate within international organisations such as the United Nations, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the Council of Europe, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the Organization of American States.

Striving for change

LGBTI people face discrimination, violence and a lack of equal rights in many countries. In some parts of the world, the situation is extremely dangerous: they are subject to violent attacks, insufficient police protection, persecution, rape, murder and death penalties. In other parts of the world, we are witnessing slow advancements in the social and legal position of LGBTI people – advancements that need strategic support. In both cases, COC Netherlands supports groups in their struggle to become stronger and more organised so they can play a crucial role in bringing about social and legal change and bring an end to discrimination and violence. Together, we aim to achieve the equal application of human rights to LGBTI people all over the world. Together, we work to counter those groups and countries that oppose our rights.

Explicit attention for trans and intersex people, LBQ women, religion and the social-economic position of LGBTI people

It is important to recognise that our community is not homogenous. There is incredible diversity within the LGBTI community in terms of the types of obstacles and human rights violations experienced and the views about how to overcome those. COC takes diversity to heart. In addition to our general support for LGBTI groups, we give extra attention to a number of specific regions (Carribean, South and South East Asia, MENA region, Western Africa, Eastern Africa) and specific groups (trans people and intersex people and LBQ women) and to the theme of religion and the socio-economic position of LGBTI people.

Our supporter: Ministry of Foreign Affairs

The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs is the main supporter of COC International work. The Dutch government pursues a policy to combat discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity – a policy that is itself based on the principle of non-discrimination. The Netherlands holds the view that this principle should be applied globally to include all grounds – including those of sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics.

The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs provides support for the following long-term programmes: PRIDE, Bridging the Gaps, Allies in Action, Hands Off!, the Pink Orange Alliance and others.

The Dutch embassies are our allies in supporting LGBTI groups and their advocacy agenda.