2009: APF Regional Workshop on the Yogyakarta Principles
Graphic: Rainbow umbrella
In May 2009, the APF brought together member institutions to discuss the role of national human rights institutions (NHRIs) in promoting implementation of the Yogyakarta Principles.
Held in Yogyakarta, Indonesia from 5 – 7 May, it was first regional workshop of its kind, bringing together participants from the national institutions of Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Jordan, Nepal, New Zealand, Palestine, Korea and Thailand.
Discussion focused on the practical ways that NHRIs could use their functions and powers – including investigating complaints, reviewing laws and policies, holding national inquiries and public education – to better protect and promote the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.
The workshop also featured keynote addresses from Professor Vitit Muntarbhorn (co-chair of the Yogyakarta Experts Group), Professor Michael O'Flaherty (Rapporteur of the Yogyakarta Experts Group) and other leading international figures.
The workshop concluded with a statement which strongly deplored "all forms of stereotyping, exclusion, stigmatisation, prejudice, intolerance, discrimination and violence" against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. It recognised that human rights defenders working with, and on behalf of, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people can also face intimidation and violence and require greater protection and promotion of their rights.
The workshop conclusions also identified that "in all countries religious, cultural and moral values and sensitivities may arise in relation to sexual orientation and gender identity". However, participants affirmed that the expression of religious and other beliefs should not violate the rights and freedoms of others.
Key recommendations from the workshop included:
- Requesting the Advisory Council of Jurists to review national laws in the countries of APF members, determine if they are consistent with international human rights standards relating to sexual orientation and gender identity and advise what amendments may be required
- Facilitating the exchange of information among APF member institutions on their human rights work in relation to sexual orientation and gender diversity
- Assisting APF member institutions to build their knowledge and awareness of human rights in relation to sexual orientation and gender identity, through training programs and staff exchanges, and
- Including the Yogyakarta workshop as an agenda item at the APF Annual Meeting in 2010 and invite each APF member institution to provide a report on its activities in relation to human rights and sexual orientation and gender identity at that meeting.
Opening statement by the APF
Australian Human Rights Commission: Background paper
Indonesian National Commission on Human Rights: Background paper
Jordan National Centre for Human Rights: Background paper
Human Rights Commission of Malaysia: Background paper
National Human Rights Commission of Nepal: Background paper
New Zealand Human Rights Commission: Background paper
New Zealand Human Rights Commission: Presentation
National Human Rights Commission of Korea: Background paper
National Human Rights Commission of Thailand: Background paper
International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission: Background paper
Understanding Sexuality in Islam: Background paper
- Rainbow umbrella - Sylvar, Flickr; http://bit.ly/1Lop4HZ