Volker Beck (politician)

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Volker Beck
File:Netzregeln10-Volker-Beck.jpg
Member of the Bundestag
Assumed office
1994
Personal details
Born (1960-12-12) 12 December 1960 (age 61)
Stuttgart, Germany
Nationality German
Political party  German:
Alliance '90/The Greens
 EU:
The Greens–European Free Alliance

Volker Beck (born 12 December 1960 in Stuttgart) is a German politician. He is a sitting member of parliament for the Green Party in the Bundestag since 1994. Beck served as the Green Party Speaker for Legal Affairs from 1994–2002, and as the Green Party Chief Whip in the Bundestag till 2013. He is spokesman of the Green Parliamentary Group for interior affairs and religion. In 2014 he was elected as President of the German-Israeli Parliamentary Friendship Group of the German Bundestag.

He represents Cologne

Political career

Beck served as spokesman of the Association of Lesbians and Gays in Germany (Lesben- und Schwulenverband in Deutschland) LSVD for over ten years. He is a supporter of same-sex marriage and has been referred to as the "Father of the German Registered Partnership Act".

Beck served as spokesperson of the Green Party’s parliamentary group on legal affairs from 1994 to 2002, and as the Green Party Chief Whip in the Bundestag until 2013. He is spokesman of the Green Parliamentary Group for interior affairs and religion. In 2014 he was elected as chairman of the German-Israeli Parliamentary Friendship Group.

Between 2001 and 2004 he was chief negotiator for his party on the new immigration law coming into to force 2005.

In a crisis of the leadership of The Greens in Germany he created the expression candystorm in support of Claudia Roth.

Political positions

File:Jacques Teyssier and others 1.jpg
Jacques Teyssier (partner of Volker Beck), Vladimir Ivanov, Volker Beck and Nikolai Alekseev in February 2007 in Berlin during the Berlin International Film Festival.

Human rights

In 2003, the German Bundestag decided on Beck’s initiative that the Federal Republic of Germany will erect a national memorial in the center of Berlin for homosexuals persecuted by the Nazi Party.

In 2006, Beck sponsored an anti-discrimination act in civil law and at the workplace, outlawing discrimination based on race, ethnic origin, sex, sexual identity, religion, age, and disability.

On 27 May 2006, Beck was attacked and injured during a Gay Rights demonstration in Moscow, called Moscow Pride.[1][2] His attack as well as his participation at the Moscow Pride Festival is featured in the documentary Moscow Pride '06.

On May 2007 he was arrested and put in a bus in front of the Moscow City Hall by the police. He had wanted to hand over a petition signed by several Members of Parliament at Moscow City Hall. He was attacked and had eggs thrown at his head. As in 2007, his partner Jacques Teyssier tried to protect Mr. Beck from attacks by anti gay rights protesters.[3]

Alongside fellow MP Marieluise Beck, Volker Beck has been a vocal critic of Russia’s human rights situation. During his time as his parliamenary group’s spokesperson on human rights, he described the repeated prison sentences against Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev as "disproportionate." He has oftentimes urged the German government and the European Union to make unequivocally clear to the Russian government that “the only Russia that can be a strategic partner is one that observes the rule of law.” He also called on Western investors to “put an end to their opportunistic silence.”[4]

Beck spoke in favor of continuing European Union sanctions on Uzbekistan, originally instated after the Uzbek government did not allow an international investigation of the Andijan massacre, on 17 October 2006.[5]

In 2011, Beck visited the Sahrawi refugee camps to learn more about the humanitarian situation in the Western Sahara.

In 2015, following the agreement on a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with Iran, Beck criticized Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel for calling the country a “friend” and argued that “with its position on Israel and its human rights situation this Iranian regime cannot be Germany’s friend or strategic partner.”[6]

Germany's Nazi Past

Beck is also considered an important figure in recompense for victims of Nazism. Alongside Otto Graf Lambsdorff, he negotiated the $4.6 billion fund to compensate people enslaved by the Nazis and later served as one of the trustees of the Foundation "Remembrance, Responsibility and Future".[7] In 2008, he claimed that the German Parliament should raise more money to fight against right wing extremists.[8]

In 2013, Beck complained to R&S, the maker of condoms that were used in a far-right party's campaign against immigrant births. The company apologized and pledged to donate 10,000 condoms as well as the proceeds from the NPD order to a German foundation against right-wing extremism and anti-Semitism.[9]

Other activities

Recognition

In 2001 the INGLO honoured his work for the gay and lesbian civil rights movement in Germany with the Like-a-rock Award. In the same year the Berlin Gay Pride festival honored him with the Rainbow Award.

On October 3, 2002, he was honored by the then German President Johannes Rau on the advice of Jewish organisations (the Central Council of Jews in Germany and the Jewish Claims Conference) as Knight of the Distinguished Service Cross. Beck also supported the Holocaust memorial and is a member of the Federal Foundation which erected the memorial.

Equality Forum honoured Beck on May 1, 2005 as one of forty heroes for his extraordinary contributions toward LGBT equality. He is the only non-North American who was honored.

On October 5, 2006 during GLBT history month Volker Beck was featured by Equality Forum.[10][11]

Personal life

Beck is openly gay. He lived in a long-term partnership with Jacques Teyssier until his death from cancer in Berlin on July 25, 2009. The couple had officially registered their partnership in 2008, after 16 years.[12]

References

  1. "Nationalist Protesters Attack Gay Rights Activists in Moscow". Fox News. 28 May 2006. Retrieved 20 August 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "German Stance on Moscow Gay Crackdown Under Debate". Retrieved 20 August 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Moscow Pride : a second stonewall took place". Retrieved 20 August 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Merkel Condemns Khodorkovsky Sentencing: 'Impression Remains that Political Motives Played a Role' Spiegel Online, December 30, 2010.
  5. "German Lawmaker Sees No Rights Progress In Uzbekistan". Retrieved 20 August 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. John Vinocur (July 27, 2015), France Throws In the Towel on Iran Wall Street Journal.
  7. Federal Judge Declines to Dismiss Holocaust-Reparations Suit New York Times, March 8, 2001.
  8. "Grünen-Politiker fordert mehr Geld im "Kampf gegen Rechts"". Retrieved 20 August 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Sophie Duvernoy (September 6, 2013), German firm apologizes for producing anti-immigrant condoms Reuters.
  10. "Volker Beck, b. December 12, 196". Retrieved 20 August 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "Volker Beck Auszeichnungen". Retrieved 20 August 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. "German Green MP Volker Beck mourns his life partner Jacques Teyssier". Retrieved 20 August 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links