Statement on the Outcome of the Philippines' Universal Periodic Review (3rd Cycle)
On 8 May 2017, the Philippines underwent its 3rd cycle of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR). The ASEAN member-state received a number of recommendations relevant to the protection and promotion of the rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) persons. ASEAN SOGIE Caucus welcomes these inputs, especially considering the great concern of a significant number of countries on the issues of extra-judicial killings (EJKs), the lowering of the age of criminal liability, and the possible reinstatement of the death penalty.
We highly appreciate the recommendations issued by several countries. Australia recommended that the Philippines “consolidate recent progress through implementation of comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation covering sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and intersex status”, while Mexico recommended that “action be taken to eradicate violence and discrimination against women and against LGBTI persons, primarily in education institutions”. Georgia recommended “To speed up the process for the adoption of the non-discrimination law”, and Honduras recommended “the adoption of a comprehensive law to combat discrimination consistent with social inclusion programs”. Furthermore, we express appreciation to the governments of Brazil and Uruguay for recognizing progress made in the area of LGBTIQ rights promotion, noting that these are outcomes of the strong and vibrant activism of Filipino LGBTIQ human rights defenders.
Also notable was the Philippine government’s inclusion of recent developments in addressing the rights of LGBTIQ persons in their official UPR report and in their statements during the actual UPR deliberation. The Philippine delegation said: “while there is currently no law specific to anti-discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, there are existing statues, local government ordinances and jurisprudence that address discrimination and hate crimes against people of diverse sexual orientation and gender identity and ensure their access to basic social services.”
However, much more must be done to ensure that LGBTIQ Filipinos fully enjoy their human rights. As of 2017, around 24 local government units (LGU) have adopted local anti-discrimination ordinances that covers sexual orientation and gender identity, but only one LGU has adopted the needed implementing rules and regulations (IRR). Moreover, the number of jurisdictions with local anti-discrimination ordinances reflects only around 1% of the total number of LGUs in the Philippines, leaving a significant number of the population with no legal recourse when they experience SOGIE-based discrimination. That said, we appreciate the Philippine Government’s openness to discuss LGBTIQ issues during the UPR, and we hope this will be sustained with active engagement of Filipino LGBTIQ human rights defenders.
We at ASEAN SOGIE Caucus appreciate the UPR recommendations issued, and urge the Philippine government to accept these recommendations. By accepting the recommendations relevant to the rights of LGBTIQ Filipinos, the government then can truly fulfill its claim that "the Duterte administration has vowed to integrate the human rights agenda in its development initiatives to protect all, especially the most vulnerable sectors, including … members of the LGBT community”. We reaffirm our commitment to work hand-in-hand with the government on these issues.
LGBTIQ Filipinos deserve better!
In Manila: Ryan Silverio, Regional Coordinator, ASEAN SOGIE Caucus
In Jakarta: Cornelius Hanung, Advocacy Officer, ASEAN SOGIE Caucus