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الأخبار : مقالة

Partnerships help drive change for LGBTI communities

الجرافيك Participants at a workshop involving the Samoa Faafafine Association and Samoa's NHRI

Five NHRIs from across the region have worked with LGBTI communities to deepen their relationships and address some of the pressing issues they face.

United Nations Development Programme LogoUnited Nations Development Programme
Asia Pacific Forum LogoAsia Pacific Forum

During 2018, five [1] national human rights institutions from across the Asia Pacific worked with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) communities to deepen their relationships and address some of the pressing issues they face.

The NHRIs of Bangladesh, Fiji, the Philippines, Samoa and Timor Leste each developed country-specific projects, which followed their participation in the APF-UNDP training program on human rights and sexual orientation, gender identity and sex characteristics.

Each NHRI received financial and mentoring assistance from the APF, as well as support and advice on data collection and research with LGTBI communities.

"These projects show what NHRIs can achieve when they reach out and build partnerships with LGBTI individuals and organisations," APF Gender Focal Point Pip Dargan said.

"It has been so inspiring to see these relationships develop, deepen and produce such tangible outcomes in countries across the region," she said.


[1] The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka had also been selected to undertake a project to advocate for the decriminalisation of same-sex relations and promote implementation of the Commission's guidelines on ethical media reporting of LGBTI issues. However, the project was unable to proceed as the Commission was not able to accept international funding.


Presenters at the conference on the legal recognition of gender identity

BANGLADESH

The National Human Rights Commission sought to identify the key challenges in achieving legal gender recognition of transgender people.

Staff members from the hijra and transgender communities were employed to assist the Commission convene community consultations, gather data and help formulate recommendations to government authorities.

The Commission also held a workshop, attended by the Social Welfare Minister and other government representatives, to discuss the changes to laws and policies needed to promote and protect the rights of the transgender community.

The Commission has expressed its intention to carry on with this work, including following up on its recommendations and undertaking further advocacy with government authorities to press for concrete changes.


Participants at the national consultation organised by the Fiji’s NHRI

FIJI

A national plan of action is being developing by the Fiji Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission and local activists to better protect the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTQI) people.

The plan of action will draw on the insights and experiences shared by 70 participants at a two-day national consultation convened by the Commission.

The consultation was an opportunity to discuss the issues that contribute to LGBTQI feeling unsafe and marginalised, as well as where change could be pursued.

Five areas discussed at the workshop included: addressing police intimidation of sex workers; violence; schools; health; and education and awareness raising.


CHR staff participate in a gay pride festival

Philippines

The Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines has sought to build the knowledge, skills and capacity of their staff and of the LGBTI community to better advocate for protection of their human rights.

The Commission partnered with Outright, an LGBTI civil society organisation, to lead training programmes in three cluster groups of islands in order to reach out to different LGBTI communities in those regions.

A fourth training program was provided for Commission staff to help them better understand the human rights issues and priorities for LGBTI communities.

The Commission reports that this engagement has helped it deepen its partnership with Outright and with other LGBTI groups across the country.


Participants at a workshop involving the Samoa Faafafine Association and Samoa's NHRI

Samoa

The Office of the Ombudsman of Samoa had two focus areas for their project.

Firstly, the Office reviewed the government's progress in implementing recommendations made to it through the UN Universal Periodic Review to improve the right to health of Fa'afafine and Fa'afatama communities.

It was involved in training of trainers to roll out the Health Blueprint to improve the health of the Fa'afafine community.

The second goal was to build relationships with a range of LGBTI communities. Representatives from the Office met the different groups separately in order to build ties and discuss the issues facing their communities. These discussions also provided an opportunity to share the role of the NHRI and identify how both parties could work together to address the most pressing human rights challenges.

Building on these discussions, the Office intends to develop a human rights action plan that will include practical measures to address issues related to sexual orientation, gender identity and sex characteristics.

A representative from the Office also attended the national consultation held in Fiji to build relationships with LGBTI communities across the region and to contribute a Samoan perspective to the discussions.


Young people take part at the national seminar

TIMOR LESTE

The project by the Provedor for Human Rights and Justice PDHJ focused on developing strategies to address bullying and discrimination of LGBTI children in schools.

The issues were canvassed in community consultations, awareness raising programs and at a three-day national seminar involving teachers, students, government authorities and police officials.

All participants at the seminar noted that a key factor contributing to discrimination and harassment is the lack of clear and accessible information for the community on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.

The Minister of Education, Youth and Sport has pledged to develop an inclusive policy on school uniforms that would allow students to dress in a way that is most appropriate for them.

Police commanders and community leaders also pledged to strengthen their relationships with LGBTI communities and involve them in their activities.


مصادر الصورة

  1. Participants at a workshop involving the Samoa Faafafine Association and Samoa's NHRI - Samoa Faafafine Association
  2. Presenters at the conference on the legal recognition of gender identity - National Human Rights Commission of Bangladesh
  3. Participants at the national consultation organised by the Fiji’s NHRI - APF/Jack Byrne
  4. CHR staff participate in a gay pride festival - Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines
  5. Participants at a workshop involving the Samoa Faafafine Association and Samoa's NHRI - Samoa Faafafine Association
  6. Young people take part at the national seminar - Office of the Provedor for Human Rights and Justice