Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Netherlands To Promote Gay Rights In Third World

by Newscenter Staff
Posted: November 7, 2007 - 5:00 pm ET

(Amsterdam, Netherlands) The Netherlands has told its ambassadors in countries receiving foreign aid they must lobby those nations to decriminalize homosexuality and provide LGBT civil rights.
The announcement was made in the Netherlands' Parliament by Development Minister Bert Koenders.
The Netherlands is a major donor to developing nations giving almost $6-billion annually - mostly in Africa, Latin America and Asia.
Koenders told Parliament that a study by the government found that homosexuality is illegal in 18 of the 36 countries to whom the country provides financial aid.
"The Netherlands will promote as much equal treatment of homosexuals as possible. We will not avoid awkward discussions about this," he said in a statement to lawmakers.
He also said, however, that ambassadors have been told to avoid the subject of gay rights in those countries where international rights groups believe such a discussion could result in a backlash against gays.
Koenders's statement does not tie foreign aid to gay rights, but the move is the strongest yet of any Western country.
The Netherlands is a world leader in LGBT civil rights. In 2001 it became the first country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage and allow gay and lesbian couples to adopt children.

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