COC & International

In the Netherlands, we have already taken many steps toward a diverse and inclusive society where everyone can be themselves, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, and sexual characteristics. But while we still have some way to go even in the Netherlands, the human rights of lhbti+ persons are still in their infancy in some countries. Indeed, in nearly 70 countries, being lhbti+ is still punishable by law and sometimes even the death penalty.

That's why we work with lhbti+ organizations around the world - such as Pan Africa ILGA in Africa and ILGA Asia in Asia. Together with them, we form Power of Pride, an alliance that works for a diverse and inclusive society in numerous countries. In the Netherlands, we work closely with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for this purpose. In addition, governments abroad, such as the European Union or America, are important strategic partners for us.

What can I do?
Tashi Tsheten, advocates with COC for lhbti+ human rights in Buthan, South Asia

Here's how COC is making a difference

In more than 35 countries, we support the building of our own strong and confident lhbti+ community. We make our international network available to local organizations. We coach and train activists, and assist financially when necessary. In addition, together with activists from different countries, we stand up for the interests of lhbti+ people at international organizations such as the United Nations. This is how we work for human rights for all lhbti+ persons worldwide, and give a loud and clear answer to opponents of these rights.

Here's why attention is so important

Being Lhbti+ is punishable in nearly 70 countries worldwide. It is even punishable by death in some 10 countries. In many countries, lhbti+ persons are persecuted, and more than two hundred trans persons are murdered worldwide every year. European Union countries such as Hungary and Poland are increasingly introducing anti-lhbti+ measures. Consequently, the opponents of human rights for lhbti+ persons are becoming increasingly vocal. So in very many places in the world, it is far from natural to be who you are and love who you want.

Time for change, then.

Tashi Tsheten, works with COC to advocate for the human rights of lhbti+ in Buthan, South Asia. He holds the rainbow flag here.
lhbti+ protests in hungary
COC has already accomplished this

Fortunately, we are also seeing more and more progress. For example, local lhbti+ organizations in Vietnam now form one strong national movement together, and there was a Pride in Guayana for the first time. lhbti+ people with disabilities finally found a place in Benin, and the movement in Kyrgyzstan got its own "pink house. In Botswana, Bhutan and Seychelles, thanks in part to our support, the movement even succeeded in ending laws criminalizing lhbti+ persons. Together with other organizations, we set up an Independent Expert at the UN to defend the human rights of LGBTI+ persons. That expert will point fingers at countries when they violate the human rights of lhbti+ persons.

But we are not there yet!

'Homosexuality is no longer punishable in Bhutan.'


Tashi Tsheten, is working with COC to advocate for the human rights of lhbti+ in this South Asian country.

Tashi Tsheten, advocates with COC for lhbti+ human rights in Buthan, South Asia

What can I do?

Support our work with a donation

Our work is made possible by people like you. Support our work today with a donation.

Donate here

Participate in actions

The COC regularly organizes human rights actions and demonstrations for lhbti+ persons worldwide. Stay up to date on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Important news and publications


Appel à Candidatures pour la Communauté de Pratique sur Développement Organisationnel pour la promotion de l'égalité des droits des personnes LGBTIQ+.

Frequently Asked Questions

How exactly do you cooperate with the Dutch government?

The Dutch government is an important ally of COC International to improve the situation of lhbti+ persons worldwide. The Dutch government raises the human rights of lhbti+ in international and bilateral contacts. COC receives financial support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to implement international programs. In specific cases, we also work closely with Dutch embassies in the countries where we work.

I know of a foreign organization that could really use your support. How can I reach you?

COC depends on funding through programs to support human rights activists and organizations. Funders often have specific requirements regarding the subject matter of the programs, the types of organizations and the countries in which they operate. For security reasons, we cannot share which countries we can or cannot support. In short: we provide customized support. Please feel free to contact [email protected], and we can answer your question further.

I know someone who is considering applying for asylum in the Netherlands, because they can no longer live safely in the country where they are now staying. How can COC support this?

A recognizable situation we see among many activists. Unfortunately, COC cannot play a role in the asylum process of individual lhbti+ persons. You could take a look at, or with COC Switchboard to share your story.

I would like to work for you internationally. How can I do that?

By supporting financially with a donation! Our donation page can be found here.

Photo credits © Header & quote: Isabell Janssen, Hungary protest: Tom Garlic