Civil society engagement with the UN human rights mechanisms on sexual orientation, gender identity & expression, and sex characteristics (SOGIESC) in Southeast Asia
The human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and queer (LGBTIQ) persons from Southeast Asia are under assault. Various forms of aggression and exclusion on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and sex characteristics (SOGIESC) have been documented, ranging from failures to establish redress mechanisms protecting LGBTIQ persons to the criminalization of consensual same-sex relations. Considering these realities, we believe that LGBTIQ people in Southeast Asia must assert stronger claims in the formulation of international policies, which define human rights norms, through engagement with UN human rights mechanisms.
This series of country briefings provide baseline information regarding SOGIESC in the engagements by civil society organizations’ (CSOs) with UN human rights, as well as inclusion of SOGIESC in reviews of human rights situations of selected countries in the region. The human rights mechanisms covered are the Universal Periodic Review, the treaty monitoring bodies, and UN Special Procedures. Twelve (12) countries are reviewed: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Viet Nam, Timor-Leste, and China. Information used in these briefs are based on discussions with CSOs and individual activists, and a desk review of relevant UN documents.
Also identified were strategies around documentation, lobbying, and follow-up work in activists’ engagement with these mechanisms. These engagements also yielded outcomes that go beyond legislative or policy change, such as strengthened relationships among CSOs, increased capacity in advocacy, and greater visibility. Finally, challenges in these engagements were also identified, such as access to and understanding of the mechanisms, language barriers, documentation, government responses, and follow-up and implementation.
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