(Ultrecht, 1955) Boris Dittrich has lead Human Rights Watch’s advocacy efforts on LGBTI rights around the world. He meets regularly with victims of homophobia and trans-phobia, and with government officials, members of parliament, and journalists in Africa, Latin America, Asia and Europe to push for progress on issues of sexual orientation and gender identity. Among his notable achievements: co-launching the landmark Yogyakarta Principles at the United Nations; helping to get 67 nations to agree to combat discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation; being instrumental in persuading UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to publicly condemn homophobia for the first time; and convincing the Vatican to make a formal UN statement in favor of decriminalizing homosexual conduct and respecting the human rights of homosexual people. Furthermore he used to be a part of the Dutch parliament for more than 12 years. During this time he initiated the same sex marriage and adoption bills, making the Netherlands the first country in the world to open its civil marriage for gays and lesbians.
Photo: © Ed van Rijswijk