Call for Australia to improve LGBTQIA+ rights globally

At least 67 countries still criminalise homosexuality around the world. Image: Silje/Wikipedia Creative Commons.

The Australian Council for International Development (ACFID) has marked IDAHOBIT by calling for a nearly fivefold increase in funding by the Australian Government to improve and support LGBTQIA+ rights around the globe.

ACFID notes that in 2024, there are still at least 67 countries around the world that have laws that criminalise homosexuality, including new discriminatory legislation in at least three countries this year alone.

Sentences for offences vary from fines, prison sentences to the death penalty.   
“It is dangerous to assume there is steady progress on LGBTQIA+ rights around the world, as we have seen anti-rights movements gain prominence in recent years – and new laws introduced that discriminate against LGBTQIA+ people,” said Dr Alex Edney-Browne, Policy and Government Relations Lead at ACFID.  

“Promoting and protecting equal rights of LGBTQIA+ persons must be an international human rights priority for the Australian Government and the wider global community.

“In ACFID’s recent submission to the Australian Government’s LGBTQIA+ Human Rights Engagement Strategy, we called for the Government to increase Australia’s Inclusion and Equality Fund to $15m per annum to support human rights defenders and CSOs working on the frontlines advancing LGBTQIA+ human rights and equality.”

At WorldPride in Sydney in 2023, Foreign Minister Penny Wong announced the new Inclusion and Equality Fund, as well as committing to a dedicated LGBTQIA+ Human Rights Engagement Strategy. 

The Inclusion and Equality Fund currently sits at $3.5m per annum, and the Federal Budget released on Tuesday showed no increases to this fund despite rising attacks on LGBTQIA+ rights in our region and beyond. 

The Australian Government’s LGBTQIA+ Human Rights Engagement Strategy is currently under development, and expected to be released by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) in the second half of this year.

ACFID says they will be watching closely to see whether the Strategy demonstrates adequate ambition.  

ACFID have also called on (DFAT) to increase risk and needs assess support for LGBTQIA+ people in all DFAT-led designs and programs by 2025, and to extend this to partner-led designs and programs by 2027.

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Andrew M Potts

Andrew has been covering LGBTQIA+ issues for a range of publications in Australia over two decades and was the Asia-Pacific correspondent for global LGBTQIA+ news website Gay Star News.

QNews, Brisbane Gay, App, Gay App, LGBTI, LGBTI News, Gay Australia

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