The CSCDO was opened on 17 January 2007 in the presence of the Federal Minister for Justice D. Prof. Herta Däubler-Gemlin, the Berlin Senator for Justice Gisela von der Aue and Volker Beck MdB at the Otto-Suhr Institute (OSI) for Political Science (Freie Universität Berlin) and is a part of the area of research of Professor Mengel, situated in his rooms in an old Dahlem villa near the main OSI building.
The main task of the Centre is to explore the causes and consequences of discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and to embed this topic into interdisciplinary teaching and research. In this attempt we seek to work with Berlin initiatives, international institutes at the City University New York, Utrecht and Amsterdam and organisations such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International. This should be carried out with the maximum possible active participation of interested students. Thus the Centre attempts to involve students in its research activities, very much as at Yale. The success of this initiative depends very much on this involvement.
WHAT ARE OUR AIMS?
In view of the increasing aggressiveness of religious communities against homosexuals it is the task of research to bring rationality to this worldwide discussion of values and thus create a counterweight to irrational prejudice which leads to violation of dignity, freedom of lifestyle and even in some cases to life threatening state sanctioned persecution. Thus in 75 countries worldwide homosexuality is punishable by the state, even to the extent of the death penalty. The fruits of Political Science, particularly from the approach of the Otto-Suhr Institute, should always contribute to the improvement of human living conditions. It is not just a question of the abstract search after the “good state”, the most just world order, but also specifically to protect the individual in his dignity and freedom. Besides research and teaching this issue should be dealt with in lectures and conferences and we should seek collaboration with institutes and organisations worldwide. The core of current research activity includes the questions, how can the freedom of sexual orientation in international law be recognised as a central part of elementary human rights and why is the resistance to it so vehement.