Advocates hope for better actions to address human rights of LGBTQIA+ Filipinos following the 4th cycle of the UPR
INCLUSION OF THE HUMAN RIGHTS OF LGBTQIA+ IN THE PHILIPPINES’ UNIVERSAL PERIODIC REVIEW (UPR) 2022
MANILA, PHILIPPINES—The Philippines’ human rights record is reviewed by the United Nations Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) yesterday, November 14, 2022, at 10 a.m. Geneva (Switzerland) time, for the fourth time. The Philippines’ first, second, and third UPR took place in 2008, 2012, and 2017, respectively.
The national report on which the reviews are based was provided by the State, the reports from independent human rights experts, the Special Procedures, and other United Nations entities, and the information provided by other stakeholders including national human rights institutions, civil society organizations including LGBTQIA+ organizations, among others. During the UPR, Member States gave recommendations to the Philippine government aimed to guide actions on addressing issues involving human rights.
A report on the human rights of LGBTQIA+ situation was jointly prepared and provided by 13 LGBTQIA+ organizations in the Philippines. One of the critical concerns is the failed attempts to pass national legislation despite the two SOGIESC-specific recommendations from the previous UPR, and while there have been earnest efforts to pass related national legislation, the Philippines still does not have comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation that protects LGBTQIA+ Filipinos.
We should ensure that the recommendations reflect the advocacy agenda of the LGBTQIA+ community. In the UPR report in 2017, the Philippines received two specific recommendations on human rights related to sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and sex characteristics (SOGIESC) from Australia and Mexico. Is the Philippine government following through on the recommendations? Some steps have been taken, but it is not enough to ensure SOGIESC equality.
Ryan Silverio, the Executive Director of ASEAN SOGIE Caucus, a regional organization of LGBTQIA+ human rights defenders from Southeast Asia, said "The Philippine government remains unclear on its position in relation to advancement of LGBTQIA+ human rights in the country. Through the UPR, we hope that a dialogue can take place to encourage the government to commit and take clear steps towards a SOGIESC-inclusive society. In the absence of mechanisms for redress, we value the UPR as a venue to raise key concerns including the decades-long delay in passing SOGIESC inclusive anti-discrimination legislation, ongoing social stigma that deny transgender and queer students access to education, and the red-tagging of LGBTQIA+ activists."
In the current cycle of the UPR in 2022, The Philippine government received 2 questions in advance, 9 recommendations, and 2 remarks related to the human rights of LGBTQIA+ persons, which were issued by the governments of Argentina, Belgium, Chile, Czech Republic, Finland, Iceland, Ireland, Sweden, United States of America, and Mexico. The Ambassador of Mexico delivered the recommendations and stated “—accelerate efforts to pass the law on sexual orientation, gender identity, and expression and the comprehensive anti-discrimination law.”
The recommendations were consistent with the advocacy agenda of the LGBTQIA+ movement: to pass comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation that protects the rights of all persons on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, and sex characteristics, to pass legislation prohibiting hate crimes against LGBTQIA+ people, and to repeal legislation that jeopardizes the human rights of transgender persons, are the common recommendations raised by different Member States.
"Young people all around the world are fighting for equality and inclusion. We know that the fight for equality transcends generations - to honor those who have fought before us and protect the next generation to come from violence and hate. We continue to affirm that LGBTQIA+ rights are basic human rights. The inclusion of the Philippine LGBTQIA+ situation in the UPR will not only be a prudent move, but a great step forward for our dream as queer Filipinos to be recognized, to be seen, and to reclaim our rightful place in the world." Vince Liban added, the National Convener of PANTAY, a youth-led lobbying community advocating for gender-transformative legislation in the Philippine Congress. #
For media inquiry, please contact:
Edell Solis, Director of Communications, PANTAY
Lini Zurlia, Advocacy & Communication Officer, ASEAN SOGIE Caucus