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Volker Beck (politician)

German politician
The basics
About
Occupation Politician
Country Germany
Date of birth Stuttgart, Bad Cannstatt
Education University of Stuttgart
Authority VIAF id ISNI id
The details
Biography

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 was 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. Having been caught in possession of Crystal Meth, Beck resigned from his positions, only keeping his seat in the Bundestag.

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.

In 2013, Beck raised a furor in Germany when a statement from 1988 become public, calling for decriminalizing sexual contact with children.

In the evening of 1 March 2016, Berlin police officers conducting pocket searches on people exiting a known drug dealer's apartment found Beck to be in possession of 0.6 grammes of Crystal Meth. The following day Beck resigned from his positions, only keeping his seat in the Bundestag.

Political positions

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. 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.

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.”

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.

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.”

In June 2016, Beck was among 19 people detained by Turkish police central in Istanbul; the police had tried to disperse dozens of activists attempting to gather to mark the annual Istanbul Pride week after authorities banned their march.

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". In 2008, he claimed that the German Parliament should raise more money to fight against right wing extremists.

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.

Other activities

  • Aktion Deutschland Hilft (Germany's Relief Coalition), Member of the Board of Trustees (since 2005)
  • American Jewish Committee’s Ramer Institute Berlin, Member of the Advisory Board (since 2002)
  • Association of German Foundations, Member of the Parliamentary Advisory Board (since 2005)
  • Foundation Flight, Expulsion, Reconciliation, Member of the Board of Trustees (since 1998)
  • Center for Information and Documentation of Work Against Racism (IDA), Member of the Advisory Board
  • German Coordinating-Council for Christian-Jewish Cooperation Organizations, Member of the Board of Trustees
  • Foundation "Remembrance, Responsibility and Future", Member of the Board of Trustees
  • Heinrich Heine University (HHU), Institut für Deutsches und Internationales Parteienrecht und Parteienforschung, Member of the Board of Trustees (since 2009)
  • Hirschfeld Eddy Foundation, Member of the Board of Trustees (since 2005)
  • Leo Baeck Foundation, Member of the Board of Trustees (since 2005)
  • Magnus Hirschfeld Foundation, Member of the Board of Trustees (since 2009)
  • Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe Foundation, Member of the Board of Trustees (since 1998)
  • Société des amis du Louvre, Member
  • Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies (MPIfG), Member of the Board of Trustees (2002-2008)

Recognition

In 2001 the INGLO (fr) 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.

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.

The contents of this page are sourced from a Wikipedia article. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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