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Collecting better data for genuine inclusion

Graphic: People marching together under a rainbow flag

Building stronger partnerships to collect data with LGBTI people is a crucial step that NHRIs can take to promote safer, more inclusive communities.

Investing in new strategies and building stronger partnerships to collect data with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) communities is a crucial step for promoting safer, more inclusive communities.

This was one of the key points discussed at a global research conference hosted by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Around 100 participants attended the ground-breaking conference on Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Intersex Status Research: Data Collection, Analysis, Social and Policy Engagement, held in Hong Kong from 9-10 May 2018.

Among the participants were representatives from six national human rights institutions (NHRIs) in the Asia Pacific, who are currently developing projects to address specific human rights barriers facing LGBTI communities in their respective countries.

Conference speakers – including from the NHRIs of the Philippines and Timor Leste – highlighted the importance of building strong partnerships to develop research programs and collect data that can better inform policy makers, service providers and the general public.

While inadequate data on the economic, political and social inclusion of LGBTI people has, in the past, resulted in poor policies, participants noted a positive trend towards collecting richer empirical data that can help promote greater equality and access to social services.

The conference also introduced the LGBTI Inclusion Index, an approach developed by UNDP to assist governments, NHRIs, civil society and others to measure LGBTI inclusion, identify data trends and gaps and provide evidence to advance good policy.


Empirical evidence about LGBTI people changes minds and lives. This historic conference will inspire different stakeholders to do LGBTI research to effect real-world changes.

Prof. Suen Yiu-tung, Director, Sexualities Research Programme, Chinese University of Hong Kong

Graphic: NHRI representatives discuss their nationally-focused research, education and advocacy projects


Following the conference, NHRI participants took part in a half-day workshop to discuss their respective projects and the research tools and methodologies that could assist them in their work.

Drawing on the skills and expertise developed through the recent APF-UNDP training program on human rights and sexual orientation, gender identity and sex characteristics, the NHRIs will soon launch targeted programs to:

  • Develop national guidelines/regulations to counter stigma and bullying of LGBTI school students (Timor Leste)
  • Strengthen the right to health of Fa'afafine & Fa'afatama communities as a key component of the government's response to recommendations made to it through the UN Universal Periodic Review (Samoa)
  • Strengthen partnerships with LGBTI communities in regional areas and improve the Commission's delivery of services to LGBTI people (Philippines)
  • Identify key challenges in laws and policies for legal gender recognition of transgender people (Bangladesh)
  • Develop a national plan of action to address the pressing human rights challenges identified by LGBTI communities (Fiji)
  • Advocate for the decriminalisation of same-sex relations and promote implementation of the Commission's guidelines on ethical media reporting of LGBTI issues (Sri Lanka).

Date: 14 May 2018


Image credits

  1. People marching together under a rainbow flag - Vinayak Das, Flickr; http://bit.ly/2sj80jU
  2. NHRI representatives discuss their nationally-focused research, education and advocacy projects - APF/Fasoha Aishath