The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) heads of government are set to formally adopt the first ever ASEAN Human Rights Declaration (AHRD) at the ASEAN Summit in Phnom Penh on Nov 18. To the grave disappointment of representatives of the LGBTIQ peoples throughout the region, the declaration did not include protections for this highly vulnerable group.
The following is a statement issued on Nov 16, 2012 by the ASEAN LGBTIQ Caucus and is endorsed by 69 LGBT groups and NGOs. The ASEAN LGBT Caucus is a loose coalition of LGBTIQ groups and indiviudals across Southeast Asian countries fighting for the inclusion of LGBT rights in the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration.
We, the ASEAN LGBTIQ Caucus are outraged and disappointed by the forthcoming decision of the ASEAN Head of States to adopt the AHRD that intentionally excludes sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI). Despite countless attempts and demands by the members of civil society, including LGBTIQ groups, to push for its inclusion, ASEAN have remained reticent to the attempts. This AHRD not only shows a lack of respect to LGBTIQ people but also makes a mockery of the international human rights values and principles that all nations and citizens abide by and are held accountable to.
“Evidently, the numerous failed attempts to engage with AICHR and the recent adoption of ASEAN Declaration with no mention of SOGI, sends a clear message that the human rights of LGBTIQ people are irrelevant to them,” explained Vien Tanjung, founder of Her Lounge.
All 10-member countries of ASEAN have ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), which have specific provisions of non-discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, and are therefore, obliged to protect and promote the rights of LGBTIQ people in the ASEAN region.
“Malaysia is a member country of the UN Human Rights Council and Malaysia was re-elected for the second term this year. It is shocking that ASEAN with such collective expertise and knowledge on human rights; discrimination is still persistent in this region. This is evidenced by the exclusion of SOGI in the AHRD,” said Thilaga, an LGBTIQ activist.
In order for the AHRD to be a relevant and credible human rights tool that protects and benefits the ASEAN community as a whole without discrimination as it aspires to be, the declaration has to be consistent with existing international human rights laws.
Jean Chong of Sayoni from Singapore also expressed her disappointment to the exclusion of SOGI in the AHRD. “No ASEAN citizen can aspire to her/his fullest potential as a citizen in their respective country with the tunnel vision and self serving approach of their governments.”
“We encourage everyone to publicly denounce support and legitimacy of the ASEAN Declaration. The priority of this declaration is not human rights, but economic and political interests of the ASEAN states at the expense of the ASEAN peoples,” explained Ging Cristobal, International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC)
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is a regional organization established in 1967 that comprises of countries in the South East Asia region. In 2009, the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) was formed to promote and protect the human rights of people in the region and was tasked to formulate the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration (AHRD), which aimed to standardize all human rights of all people in the Southeast region of Asia.
1. Akei, Philippines
2. Aksi for Gender, Social and Ecological Justice, Indonesia
3. Alliance of Young Nurse Leaders & Advocates International Inc., Philippines
4. Amnesty International Philippines
5. Anjaree, Thailand
6. Arus Pelangi, Indonesia
7. Asia Pacific Transgender Network (APTN)
8. B-Change Foundation, Philippines
9. Babaylanes, Philippines
10. Bahaghari Dasmarinas, Ekklesia Tou Theou (Church of God), Philippines
11. CamASEAN Youth’s Future Group Work for Human Rights, Cambodia
12. Drodrolagi Movement, Fiji
13. For Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Rights Project (For-SOGI), Thailand
14. Forum LGBTIQ Indonesia
15. Free Community Church, Singapore
16. GAYa NUSANTARA, Indonesia
17. GWLmuda – Indonesian National Coalition of Young Gay, Waria and other MSM, Indonesia
18. Harry Benjamin Syndrome (HBS), Indonesia
19. HerLounge, Indonesia
20. Indignation, Singapore
21. Indonesia for Human’s
22. Indonesian Women’s Coalition for Justice and Democration (Koalisi Perempuan Indonesia untuk Keadilan dan Demokrasi), Indonesia
23. International Commission of Jurists
24. International Gay Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC)
25. International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association ASIA
26. iSee, Vietnam
27. Justice for Sisters, Malaysia
28. KANHNHA, Cambodia
29. Knowledge and Rights with Young people through Safer Spaces (KRYSS), Malaysia
30. Ladlad Region II, Philippines
31. Likhaan Center For Women’s Health, Philippines
32. Lunduyan ng Sining, Philippines
33. Malaysian Civil Liberties Movement (MCLM), Malaysia
34. Migrant Forum in Asia
35. Oogachaga, Singapore
36. Our Voice Indonesia
37. People like Us, Singapore
38. Pergerakan Indonesia
39. Perkumpulan Equitas Indonesia (Equitas Indonesia Association), Indonesia
40. Philwomen on ASEAN, Philippines
41. Philippine Forum on Sports, Culture, Sexuality and Human Rights (TEAM PILIPINAS)
42. Pink Dot, Singapore
43. Project X, Singapore
44. Projek Dialog, Malaysia
45. Proud to be LGBT Campaign (PTBL)
46. Q-Munity – Queer activism through arts and films, Indonesia
47. Rainbow Community Kampuchea (RoCK), Cambodia
48. Rainbow Pilipinas Production
49. Rainbow Rights, Project, Inc., Philippines
50. Safe Singapore, Singapore
51. Sayoni, Singapore
52. Seksualiti Merdeka, Malaysia
53. Singapore Anti-Death Penalty Campaign, Singapore
54. SinQSA (Singapore Queer Straight Alliance), Singapore
55. Solidaritas Perempuan, Indonesia
56. Sons, Singapore
57. South East Asian Committee for Advocacy (SEACA)
58. Southeast Asia Women’s Caucus on ASEAN
59. TLF Collective Share, Philippines
60. Thai Transgender Alliance, Thailand
61. The Alliance of Young Health Advocates, Philippines
62. The Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association- ADHO, Cambodia
63. The Lesbian Activism Project, Philippines
64. Think Centre, Singapore
65. Transgender Colors, Inc. Cebu City, Philippines
66. Women’s Legal and Human Rights Bureau (WLB), Philippines
67. Young Out Here, Singapore
68. Youth Voices Count, Regional Network of young MSM and TG, Asia Pacific
The ASEAN LGBTIQ Caucus released a petition on November 6, 2012 to mobilize support for the inclusion of the sexual orientation and gender identity in the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration. 1,384 individuals signed the petition.
Follow the Asean Lgbt Caucus on Facebook.
by News Editor
Source – Fridae