Advocacy Director, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Rights Program
Boris leads Human Rights Watch’s advocacy efforts on LGBT 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.
Before coming to Human Rights Watch in 2007, Boris was a member of the Dutch parliament for more than 12 years. 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. Before being elected to parliament, Boris was a judge at the regional court of Alkmaar and a lawyer in Amsterdam. He is author of two novels and two non-fiction works in Dutch, one on LGBT rights. He studied at Leiden University in the Netherlands. In May 2013 he received the Jos Brink State Award from the Dutch government for his work on LGBT rights over the last 30 years.
Boris Dittrich will deliver a keynote speech at the formal conference dinner on Thursday evening, August 4, plus he will have an active part in the conference as a moderator.