The European Union has announced that it will spend €20 million on funding anti-discrimination projects in the ‘Global South’. It says that “discrimination hampers development.”
The funding will fight all types of discrimination, and the inclusion of LGBT people led some of the partner countries to walk out of the launch of the fund. European Parliament member (MEP) Michael Cashman said that the walk out was concerning, but “We have always placed the issue of a hierarchy of rights to one side. All rights are equal.”
Last December, the U.S. State Department announced that it would start a $3 million “Global Equality Fund” specific to LGBT issues.
European Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs, said:
It is clear that no country can develop in the long term when some minorities face serious threats, intimidation and even violence because of who they are. Since I took office, I have put the promotion of human rights and human development at the core of EU development policy.
The new package … is a clear signal of the EU’s determination to help civil society and willing partners to make diversity acceptable and an asset of our societies.
Development is a comprehensive process. You can’t just develop countries and not allow the people and diverse groups within the populations to develop. It’s a symbiotic approach.
Existing EU funding for LGBT groups has been controversial for many countries. Last year Cameroon loudly protested the EU’s support for a local group.
Picture by Joseph Huff-Hannon