LGBTI people are subjected to human rights abuses all over the world including discrimination, violence and threats of violence. In some cases, respect for LGBTI people’s human rights can be seen as a gauge and an indicator – or a warning signal – of the extent to which a state respects human rights.

Sweden’s ambition is to be a strong voice for LGBTI people’s enjoyment of human rights throughout the world. As a part of that ambition, the Ministry for Foreign affairs has launched an educational programme for all Swedish foreign service employees on the best way to help combat and prevent abuses of LGBTI people’s enjoyment of their human rights. The educational programme was produced by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in cooperation with the Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Rights (RFSL).

“We know that the fight for human rights is global. We are increasingly of the view that Sweden must have a strong and clear voice. The new educational programme aims to make Sweden’s voice even stronger and clearer,” says Minister for Foreign Affairs Margot Wallström.

Sweden was an active partner in the work that led up to the UN Human Rights Council’s historic decision to appoint an independent expert to examine and report on violence and discrimination due to sexual orientation and gender identity.

For the past year, Sweden has also been active in the Equal Rights Coalition, which is a coalition of states that work together to promote human rights and inclusive development for LGBTI people. In the Equal Rights Coalition, Sweden has actively promoted a joint condemnation of the reports coming from Chechnya.

Development cooperation is another important tool in Sweden’s overall foreign policy engagement in LGBTI people’s enjoyment of human rights.

“LGBTI people often run into serious difficulties when war and conflicts flare up – a tendency that has unfortunately been reinforced in recent times. It is therefore important that Sweden uses its role as one of the world’s largest aid donors to monitor and influence developments,” says Minister for International Development Cooperation and Climate Isabella Lövin.

Swedish support has increased considerably over the past ten years and is directed through policies and strategies. The Government’s Communication on human rights, democracy and the rule of law in Swedish foreign policy (2016/17:62) states that the Government intends to continue to be a strong voice and actor for LGBTI people’s full enjoyment of human rights.

For more on Swedish foreign policy on human rights, follow our Ambassador for Human Rights, Democracy, and Rule of Law: