Greetings from the Philippines

Friends,

March is Women’s History Month, and IGLHRC’s Asia Program is contributing by making LGBT history today!

Breakthrough in the Philippines: The Philippines National Police (PNP) announced on February 22nd that it has entered into a partnership with IGLHRC and the LAD LAD LGBT Party to sensitize police officers on LGBT rights.

In October, IGLHRC partnered with 40 Filipino organizations to document police abuse -- including raids of LGBT bars, blackmail and extortion -- in a report to the UN. In response, the Human Rights Committee condemned the government’s conduct, a reaction we are now leveraging.

The new 3-day trainings of regional, precinct, and women’s desk officers will take place in 6 major Filipino provinces in the coming months. The best part? LGBT activists in each province will be the featured experts, ensuring that the police trainings meet the needs of local communities. .

In other news, during the first week of March, partners from our 3-year study of violence against LBT people in 5 Asian nations presented at the annual meeting of the UN Commission on the Status of Women. Jay Kuru (Sri Lanka), Azusa Yamashita (Japan), and Thilaga (Malaysia) reported their unexpected preliminary findings and spoke about the safety and security of LBT people in hostile environments.

At the end of February, Grace Poore of IGLHRC’s Asia Program testified before the UN Committee on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) on obstacles to justice for LGBT people. Grace’s testimony was based on our joint submission with Madre and endorsed by 55 organizations worldwide. Believe it or not, there were a whopping 57 written submissions on the topic, yet ours was the only one dedicated to LGBT rights!

Coming up, the Asia Program will facilitate 3 workshops at the Fifth ILGA-Asia conference in Bangkok March 29th to 31st. They’ll focus on safety and security for LGBT activists, making the UN accessible and effective, and LGBT rights at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Over the coming month, LGBT activists will be participating in regional meetings in Brazil, France, Nepal and Norway to lay the foundation for what we hope will be a second historic resolution on sexual orientation and gender identity at the UN Human Rights Council in June. More on this next time...

With warmth and solidarity,

Jessica Stern
Executive Director

P.S. Mark your calendar for IGLHRC's annual gala in New York City: a Celebration of Courage will be this May 13th!