December 01, 2012

ASEAN Human Rights Declaration Refuse to Protect LGBTIQ Rights!

Statement from the ASEAN LGBTIQ Caucus
ASEAN Human Rights Declaration Refuse to Protect LGBTIQ Rights!

We, the ASEAN LGBTIQ Caucus[1] are outraged and disappointed by the 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.

Ging Cristobal, IGLHRC, Philippines –  / +639175570405              
Srorn Srun, RoCK Cambodia -   / +855092300006         
Jean Chong, Sayoni, Singapore –  / +6597475756 / in Cambodia +85515720997
Vien Tanjung, HerLounge, Indonesia -  / +628568666101
Thilaga Sulathireh, Queer activist Malaysia -  / +60176306795

Endorsed by,

  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
  1. For Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Rights Project (For-SOGI), Thailand
  2. Forum LGBTIQ Indonesia
  3. Free Community Church, Singapore
  4. GAYa NUSANTARA, Indonesia
  5. GWLmuda - Indonesian National Coalition of Young Gay, Waria and other MSM, Indonesia
  6. Harry Benjamin Syndrome (HBS), Indonesia
  7. HerLounge, Indonesia
  8. Indignation, Singapore
  9. Indonesia for Human’s
  10. Indonesian Women's Coalition for Justice and Democration (Koalisi Perempuan Indonesia untuk Keadilan dan Demokrasi), Indonesia
  11. International Commission of Jurists
  12. International Gay Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC)
  13.   International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association ASIA
  14.  iSee, Vietnam
  1. Justice for Sisters, Malaysia
  2. KANHNHA, Cambodia
  3. Knowledge and Rights with Young people through Safer Spaces (KRYSS), Malaysia
  4. Ladlad Region II, Philippines
  5. Likhaan Center For Women's Health, Philippines
  6. Lunduyan ng Sining, Philippines
  7. Malaysian Civil Liberties Movement (MCLM), Malaysia
  8. Migrant Forum in Asia
  9. Oogachaga, Singapore
  10. Our Voice Indonesia
  11. People like Us, Singapore
  12. Pergerakan Indonesia
  13.  Perkumpulan Equitas Indonesia (Equitas Indonesia Association), Indonesia
  14. Philwomen on ASEAN, Philippines
  15. Philippine Forum on Sports, Culture, Sexuality and Human Rights (TEAM PILIPINAS)
  16. Pink Dot, Singapore
  17. Project X, Singapore
  18.  Projek Dialog, Malaysia
  1. Proud to be LGBT Campaign (PTBL)
  2. Q-Munity - Queer activism through arts and films, Indonesia
  3. Rainbow Community Kampuchea (RoCK), Cambodia
  4. Rainbow Pilipinas Production
  5. Rainbow Rights, Project, Inc., Philippines
  6. Safe Singapore, Singapore
  1. Sayoni, Singapore
  2. Seksualiti Merdeka, Malaysia
  3. Singapore Anti-Death Penalty Campaign, Singapore
  4. SinQSA (Singapore Queer Straight Alliance), Singapore
  5. Solidaritas Perempuan, Indonesia
  1. Sons, Singapore
  2. South East Asian Committee for Advocacy (SEACA)
  3. Southeast Asia Women's Caucus on ASEAN
  4. TLF Collective Share, Philippines
  5. Thai Transgender Alliance, Thailand
  6. The Alliance of Young Health Advocates, Philippines
  7. The Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association- ADHO, Cambodia
  8. The Lesbian Activism Project, Philippines
  9. Think Centre, Singapore
  10. Transgender Colors, Inc. Cebu City, Philippines
  11. Women's Legal and Human Rights Bureau (WLB), Philippines
  12. Young Out Here, Singapore
  13. 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.

[1] 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.