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Innovative projects will strengthen LGBTI rights in the Asia Pacific

Graphic: Participant from Timor Leste at the training program on LGBTI rights

Six NHRIs from across the region will shortly launch innovative projects to tackle pressing issues facing LGBTI communities.

The APF and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) are supporting six national human rights institutions (NHRIs) from across the Asia Pacific in their efforts to tackle pressing human rights issues facing lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people.

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:

  • 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).

Graphic: Two participants from Samoa at the training program on LGBTI rights

Each NHRI will work closely with local LGBTI communities and organisations to develop and implement their programs, building on relationships that they established through the APF-UNDP training program.

They will also receive financial and technical assistance from the APF, including mentoring and advice from experts in the field.

The APF-UNDP training program highlighted a need among NHRIs for support in collecting and disaggregating data, as well as conducting research focused on the rights of LGBTI people.

"Solid and verifiable data is a cornerstone for developing good public policy," said Pip Dargan, Deputy Director of the APF secretariat.

"As part of this project, we will support the six participating NHRIs to learn more about LGBTI data collection and research," she said.

Representatives from the NHRIs of Bangladesh, Fiji, the Philippines, Samoa, Sri Lanka and Timor Leste will attend a two-day conference (8-9 May 2018) on the issue, convened by the Chinese University of Hong Kong and UNDP.

This will be followed by a tailored workshop for NHRIs on data collection on 10 May 2018, led by UNDP.

"We are excited to support NHRIs to work alongside LGBTI people in their countries and bring about practical changes that will make a real difference in people's lives," Ms Dargan said.

Date: 16 March 2018

Image credits

  1. Participant from Timor Leste at the training program on LGBTI rights - APF/ Faso Aishath
  2. Two participants from Samoa at the training program on LGBTI rights - APF/ Faso Aishath