Fighting for Pride: how LGBTQ+ defenders can effectively engage with foreign embassies

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This LGBTQ+ themed #FeaturedResourceFriday highlights several honorary resources to tribute Pride which was last month. Intended for LGBTQ+ defenders, this activist toolkit provides a closer look at how U.S. embassies operate and how defenders can strategically approach, request, and access different types of diplomatic support.

A sneak peak directly from the resource:

“The first step in activating a U.S. embassy is to persuade the embassy that there is a problem and that there are important human rights issues at stake. One of the best ways to do that is by working with embassy officials to include information on LGBT human rights violations in the human rights report that each embassy is required to write every year.”

“Before considering funding mechanisms, consider in-kind or technical support that the embassy might be able to provide. In tight economic times, it may be easier to persuade a U.S. embassy to contribute technical support, rather than direct funding. Embassy personnel often can lend new perspectives and unexpected technical expertise to your domestic advocacy work.”

Accessing U.S. Embassies

The Accessing U.S. Embassies: A Guide for LGBT Human Rights Defenders resource is created by, the Council for Global Equality. It includes technical advice on how to frame your request and strategically communicate with the US embassy to garner more active support. It advises on how to stay modest when asking for financial support. This approach will demonstrate your awareness of the funding limitations and may help “convince the embassy to take some action”.

The guide also makes clear to what extent one could expect support of a U.S. embassy specific to LGBTQ+ issues. In emergency situations, embassies can help facilitate complex processes and navigate formal mechanisms. With LGBTQ+ defenders’ lives at high risk, it validates the need to increase and strengthen foreign support for their causes.

Other international embassies and diplomatic missions

To balance out the U.S. centric resource above, we also recently added the Front Line Handbook for Human Rights Defenders on the protection that EU and Norwegian diplomatic missions can offer. It offers an overview of institutional structures on the ground and gives context on how foreign and security policies are designed and implemented at the local and country level.

There are very useful illustrations for defenders throughout this resource. For instance, some recommendations are accompanied with infographics such as the flowchart below.

Front Line Handbook for Human Rights Defenders

Furthermore, another practical resource is the Leveraging Diplomatic Support for the Protection of Defenders. This resource breaks down three different types of diplomatic support available for human rights defenders (HRD’s)

  1. General support for the protection and empowerment of HRD’s. This includes monitoring and reporting an human rights situation, and increasing the visibility of human rights work through media use.
  2. Targeted support for improving the situation of particular HRD’s in a specific situation. This includes diplomatic measures and interventions. 
  3. Exceptional or emergency support. Among others this includes assistance with accessing short-term protection and assistance with relocation. 

Two other organizations to add on your radar are The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association Europe (ILGA Europe), which documents the purpose of different European Institutions and how their work is relevant to the LGBTQ+ community, and the Dignity for All LGBTI Assistance Program, which has consortiums around the world that you can approach for support.

Want to suggest a resource to add? Let us know! Read below on how to contact us.

Email us at [email protected], browse our organizations and initiatives in our online library, leave us a comment on Facebook, tweet us @rightsconnected and interact with us on Instagram @rightsconnected.

This blog post was written by Editorial and Content intern Christa Koeyvoets, and edited by Education and Communications Associate, Sabrina Sanchez.

Featured photo borrowed from Shutterstock.

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