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Ensuring marginalised voices are heard on the international stage

Graphic: Group of women in India

A UNDP workshop has canvassed strategies to include the experiences of marginalised women and LGBTI people in the Universal Periodic Review process.

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

A regional workshop in Bangkok has canvassed a range of practical strategies to include the experiences and perspectives of marginalised women and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people from the Asia Pacific region in the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process.

The workshop, organised by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and supported by the APF, was held on 22-23 September 2015.

The UPR, operated by the UN Human Rights Council since 2008, examines the human rights records of all 193 UN Member States once every four and a half years.

Each country review draws on a wide range of sources, including information provided by national human rights institutions (NHRIs) and civil society organisations.

Pip Dargan, APF Gender Focal Point and Deputy Director of the APF secretariat, described the workshop as "practical exercise to develop a road map of strategic engagement and cooperation" between NHRIs and marginalised women and LGBTI communities.

NHRIs can play a critical role to draw national and international attention to the voices of people from these groups, who often go unheard or ignored.

Asia Pacific Forum Logo Pip Dargan, Deputy Directory, APF secretariat

The workshop included participants from Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, India, China, Malaysia and the Philippines. Each of these countries will take part in the UPR process in 2017, which will require NHRIs and civil society organisations to begin their research and consultations in 2016.

During the course of the workshop, participants analysed the UPR process and how it works; the national strategies in place for reporting in 2017, as well as the lead government agencies in each country; and the different but complementary roles of NHRIs and civil society organisiations in the UPR process.

Discussions also looked at the previous UPR process involving each of the six countries, including questions, observations and recommendations made by the Human Rights Council relating to issues and challenges faced by marginalised women and HIV-affected communities.

Ms Dargan said the workshop was an invaluable opportunity to discuss issues that were a priority for all APF members.

"Over the next five years, the APF has made promoting gender equality and advancing the human rights of women and girls a key focus across all parts of our work," she said.

"We also provide a range of services to assist our members in understanding and engaging on human rights issues affecting people who are of diverse sexuality and gender identity."

Date: 9 October 2015

Image credits

  1. Group of women in India - European Union / UN Women Asia and the Pacific, Flickr; http://bit.ly/1LTPbsc