Ten LGBTI activists visited the Netherlands in order to share experiences and extend their network to include Dutch counterparts. As space for civil society is narrowing in their countries, they welcomed a visit to the Netherlands as a source of support and inspiration.
To familiarise the activists with LGBTI life in the Netherlands, the programme included a ‘pink’ tour of Amsterdam that took in the city’s memorial to people persecuted for their sexuality (‘Homomonument’) and Bar Prik. A visit to IHLIA LGBT Heritage gave the activists an opportunity to help preserve and archive significant material on LGBTI history in their three countries.
The programme included two workshops: at the NGO Justice & Peace, delegates participated in parallel workshops on either psychological security and wellbeing, or policy advocacy and lobbying. COC Netherlands and ILGA Europe also held a seminar on working with allies.
At a networking event in Amsterdam Museum, delegates met representatives from various organisations, including Amnesty International, the Netherlands Helsinki Committee, Transgender Network Netherlands, Mama Cash and PROUD. Topics discussed included international human rights, potential support, the trans community and intersex, and depictions of sexual orientation and gender identity in the arts and cultural heritage.
The activists greatly appreciated additional meetings with Human Rights Ambassador Kees van Baar, HIV/AIDS Ambassador Lambert Grijns, Boris Dittrich of Human Rights Watch and COC Netherlands Director Koen van Dijk.
‘The programme met all our needs. I’m well-rested and full of energy now, having gained valuable knowledge and experience.’
Participants: LGBTI activists from Russia (7), Kazakhstan (2) and Azerbaijan (1)
RVO.nl representatives: Bregje Korteweg, Iddo van der Giessen(intern)