COC Netherlands has been advocating the rights of lesbian women, gay men, bisexuals and transgenders (LGBT’s) from 1946 on. COC strives for the decriminalization of sexual orientation and gender identity and for equal rights, emancipation and social acceptance of LGBT’s in the Netherlands and all over the world. COC is one of the few LGBT organizations that has a special consultative status with the United Nations.
Involved in many aspects
COC Netherlands is involved in many aspects of LGBT rights, with a focus on youth & school, 50+, safety, culture & religion and international issues. COC Netherlands is a federation that consists of 21 local associations. So, wherever you live in the Netherlands, there’s always a COC in the neighborhood.
Power from within
The way we work can be defined as inside-out: we support coalitions of LGBT’s and straight people and empower them to make a change from within their own community or organization. We believe that this power from within ultimately has a stronger effect than a top down approach. Plus: we are convinced that we accomplish so much more when LGBT’s and straight people act together the fight for emancipation, social acceptance and equal rights.
The people we call Frontliners are activists that play a key role in our inside-out approach. They are the driven and motivated guys and girls, men and women that act in the front line of the process of social acceptance. A lesbian pupil who starts a Gay-Straight Alliance at her school with our support. A man from a cultural, etnic or religious minority that we help to start the discussion within his community about what it means to be gay. A transwoman from Uganda that we provide platform to address violations of LGBT human rights at a United Nations conference.
Bridging the Gaps
COC Netherlands is part of Bridging the Gaps – health and rights for key populations. In collaboration with the Dutch Aids Foundation, AFEW, GNP+ en Mainline and financially supported by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Office – this unique program addresses the common challenges faced by sex workers, people who use drugs and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in terms of human right violations and accessing much needed HIV and health services. Together with almost 100 local and international organizations we have united to reach 1 mission: achieving universal access to HIV/STI prevention, treatment, care and support for key populations, including sex workers, LGBT people and people who use drugs. Go to Bridging the Gaps for more information.
Fighting for acceptance all over the world
- COC supports LGBT organizations in numerous countries by helping them to build their own strong and confident LGBT communities. COC coaches and trains activists and provides financial support wherever possible. Besides that COC uses its international network to intensively lobby in co-operation with LGBT activists from many countries with international organizations, such as the United Nations, the Organization for Cooperation and Security in Europe (OCSE) and the Council of Europe. COC supports the lobby of LGBT activists with the African Commision and the Organization of American States (OAS). Together we fight for human rights for LGBT’s all over the world and we counter those who oppose LGBT rights, groups that have become stronger and more organized over the last years.
- Sometimes LGBT’s fear for their lives in their home country and flee to the Netherlands. COC strives for a Dutch asylum policy that welcomes these refugees and offers them a safe haven in our country.
- Although LGBT’s in many countries suffer from discrimination and lack of equal rights, the situation in some parts of the world is extremely serious: pride manifestations are prohibited or violently attacked without police protection, prosecution, rape, murder, death penalties and other violations of basic human rights.
Some facts and figures
- Homosexuality or homosexual acts are punishable in 76 countries, in seven countries even by the death penalty.
- HIV infections are ten times higher in countries where homosexual acts are a criminal offense.
- Every year more than two hundred transgenders around the world are murdered because of their gender identity.
- COC supports LGBT organizations in Central and Eastern Europe, Central Asia, Africa and Latin America. This allows them to open their own office, start aids prevention programs, build strong communities, organize prides and lobby for better laws.
- COC has a special consultative status with the United Nations which enabled us to contribute to the first UN resolution in 2011 against the violation of LGBT human rights.
- Every year COC supports dozens of LGBT activists to lobby for LGBT rights at meetings of organizations such as the United Nations, the African Commission and the Organization of American States.
- Thanks to COC advocacy the Dutch asylum policy improved in favor of LGBT’s. No longer can they be send back to their home country if this means going back ‘in the closet’. No longer LGBT’s are sent back to Iraq and Iran.
- Otgoo Tsedendemberel from Mongolia managed to address LGBT issues with his government in Mongolia. With the support of COC he attended several UN assemblies. He there managed to convince his government to publicly promise to end discrimination and violation of human rights of LGBT’s in his country for the first time ever in the Mongolian history.
- Get involved and support LGBT-activists like Otgoo:
- Donate to the Pride Fund of COC and Amnesty International and support LGBT-activists who are being prosecuted and risk getting harmed or arrested.
- Support international activities of COC with your donation.
- Foreign LGBT organizations and activists who want to co-operate with COC can get in touch by sending an e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.