May 22, 2024

Athens News

News in English from Greece

Greek diplomats defending LGBT rights

A few days ago, with the active participation of the Diplomatic Corps, an event was held at the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the topic “Greece, Europe's focal point for LGBTI+ equality in 2024 – from civil marriage equality law to EuroPride 2024.”

The event was attended by the heads of more than 30 foreign diplomatic missions in Athens and representatives of national equality and human rights bodies. The opening speech was made by Foreign Minister Georgios Gerapetritis, who called the legislative recognition of marriage for all without discrimination in Greece significant and pointed out the exceptional importance of protecting the rights of the LGBTQ+ community as an integral part of a democratic country. He also noted that these efforts are not limited to the recently passed legislation, but are an ongoing struggle that Greece has made a priority.

The event was organized as part of the actions of the diplomatic corps in support of EuroPride 2024which will take place from June 21 to 29 in Thessaloniki under the motto “Persevere – Progress – Prosperity”.

The event, jointly organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Embassy of the Netherlands in Athens, featured speeches by Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Ambassador Alexandra Papadopoulou, Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ambassador Teresa Angelatou, Ambassador of the Netherlands Teresa Terstal, Ambassador of the Belgian Presidency of the Council EU, Mark Kalkoen and director of Pride Thessaloniki Apostolos Karampairis. A video greeting from the European Ambassador for Gender and Diversity Stella Ronner-Grubačić was also shown.

In her greeting, the Secretary of State mentioned, among other things, the establishment in January 2024 of an Equalities Office within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which will report directly to the Acting Secretary General. The Equality Office is responsible for monitoring the implementation within the Foreign Office of all national, European and international strategies in the area of ​​equality, inclusion and diversity.

Ms. Papadopoulou emphasized that the fight against all forms of discrimination is one of the main challenges of our time. For, as she noted, what is at stake is not only the rights of individual groups, but also the very future of our democratic institutions, social cohesion and, therefore, the resilience of our societies in the face of increasingly complex threats. Our collective duty is to prevent failure, she concluded.

As emphasized in the relevant speeches, the defense of equality is a firm commitment of the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs, both within the walls and at the level of foreign policy. With the recent legalization of same-sex marriage, Greece not only joined the group of countries that actively and thoroughly protect the rights of the LGBTQ+ community, but also became one of their first ranks.

The ambassadors of the Netherlands and Belgium – the first countries to introduce marriage equality before Greece – in their statements praised Greece for this historic legislative initiative.

In turn, the Secretary General in her speech emphasized that gender equality, LGBTQ+ equality, inclusion of people with disabilities, children's rights, the fight against racism and intolerance were placed at the forefront of the work of the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

She cited specific statistics according to which the ratio of women and men in the overall staff of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is 50 to 50, that is, 906 women and 907 men (out of 1,813 people in 2023). In the diplomatic department, out of 501 employees in 2023, there will be 183 women and 318 men, corresponding to 36.5%.

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