TREATY BODIES: FIVE YEARS OF RESEARCH SHOW INTERNATIONAL LAW INCREASINGLY PROTECTS LGBTI PERSONS’ RIGHTS

ASIA PACIFIC ALLIANCE FOR SEXUAL AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH AND RIGHTS (APA),  2020

The United Nations Treaty Bodies are an authoritative source of international law, and have steadily contributed to protecting the human rights of LGBTI persons. A review of their activities in 2017 and 2018, released by ILGA World, shows that references to sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and sex characteristics (SOGIESC) made by the committees have hit an all-time high.

The report on  United Nations Treaty Bodies: References to Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, Gender Expression and Sex characteristics’ is a comprehensive annual compilation and analysis of all the SOGIESC references made by nine UN Treaty Bodies (CESCR, HRCtee, CEDAW, CRC, CAT, CRPD, CERD, CMW and CED) in 2018, produced by ILGA.
It investigates the Treaty Bodies’ General Comments (interpretations of the international human rights treaties), Individual Communications (complaints brought by individuals or organisations), Lists of Issues (issues and questions sent to the States parties before the main review) and Concluding Observations (country-specific concerns and recommendations).

In 2018, Treaty Bodies made a record high of 138 SOGIESC references and recommendations. This is more than 2.5 times growth from 2014, and active participation of CS groups was one of the important factors contributing to this.  

How did Asia Pacific countries fare?   Here’s all the AP countries under review in 2018, by treaty. 

Highlighted countries received recommendations on LGBTI and/or had civil society reports that mentioned LGBTI :

·         2018 Committee on Economic Social and Cultural Rights :  Bangladesh, New Zealand (read more on p22)

·         2018 Human Right Committee (ICCPR) : Lao 

·         2018 Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women:  Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji, Lao, Malaysia, Nepal , New Zealand, R of Korea, Samoa  (read more on p. 44)

·         2018 Committee on the Rights of the Child:  Lao, Marshall Islands, Palau, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka (read more on p 57)

·         2018 Committee Against Torture:  [Canada*], Maldives, Russia,  Viet Nam, (read more on p 64)

·         2018 Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: Nepal, Philippines, Russia (read more on p 73)

·         2018 Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination: China, Iraq, Japan, Nepal, R of Korea  (read more on p 80)

·         2018 Committee on Migrant Workers:

·         2018 Committee on Enforced Disappearances:  Japan (read more on p 90)

NOTE: Central Asia was not included in the above listing. Canada was included as there is a member organisation there.

 

New resource: LGBTI R U OK? Conversation Guide

National LGBTI Health Alliance and R U OK?,  February 2020

“Life can be challenging, and we all need support during times of grief, loss, relationship breakdown and when we’re under work or financial pressure. On top of this, LGBTI people might be subject to prejudice, stigma, discrimination, harassment, and violence.” 

National LGBTI Health Alliance has collaborated with R U OK? to produce this LGBTI guide which was released just in time for the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.

Snapshot of mental health and suicide prevention statistics for LGBTI people

The National LGBTI Health Alliance (The Alliance), February 2020

Although many lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) Australians live healthy and happy lives, research has demonstrated that a disproportionate number experience poorer mental health outcomes and have higher risk of suicidal behaviours than their peers.

These health outcomes are directly related to experiences of stigma, prejudice, discrimination and abuse on the basis of being LGBTI. This document aims to provide a snapshot of what is known of the current mental health and wellbeing outcomes of LGBTI people in Australia.

New ‘Trans @ School’ resource

 LGBTI Legal Service, Legal Aid Queensland and the Queensland Human Rights Commission, in consultation with the Queensland Children’s Gender Service, 2020

This resource has been developed in consultation with the Queensland Children’s Gender Service, young people, parents and educators.
School is an important part of life for children and young people. Schools not only have an ethical duty, but a legal responsibility to provide a safe and supportive environment that protects all students, including trans and gender diverse students. As such, schools need to know how to support trans or gender diverse students, and understand that each will have specific needs.
This guide is for trans and gender diverse students, and aims to help them navigate the complex issues that can arise at school.

Australia’s Gen Z Study

Australia’s Gen Zs: negotiating religion, sexuality & diversity

ANU, Deakin and Monash Universities, 2019.

Contemporary teenagers (Gen Z) are exposed to diversity in ways that are unprecedented, through social media, school and peers. How do they experience and understand religious, spiritual, gender and sexual diversity?

How are their experiences mediated by where they go to school, their faith and their geographic location? Are they materialist, secular, religious, spiritual, or do they have hybrid identities? How religiously literate are they? How is this shaping their worldviews?

The Australian Gen Z study provides a powerful insight into how teenagers are making sense of the world around them. This Australian Research Council funded project creates new ways of understanding the complexity of young people’s lives and the ways they are apprehending and dealing with diversity. We argue school education about worldviews is founded on ways of thinking about young people that do not reflect the complexities of Gen Z’s everyday experiences of diversity and their interactions with each other.

In October 2019 the first project report was released as part of the AGZ Study.

Public Cervix Announcement campaign

Thorne Harbour Health, September 2019

Cancer Council Victoria, November 2019

As more research reveals concerning health outcomes for lesbian, bisexual and queer (LBQ) identified women, it is encouraging that there is a shift in focus towards improving health for LBQ women from both mainstream and LGBTIQ health organisations. As part of Women’s Health Week (September 2 – 6) we thought we’d take you through one of our campaigns which was created to raise awareness around cervical screening.

The reasons why these groups don’t screen as often as they should include people thinking they don’t need to screen, feeling embarrassed or frightened and fearing homophobia or transphobia. The fact is, all LGBTIQ people with a cervix between the ages of 25 and 74, need cervical screening every five years to reduce their risk of cervical cancer, no matter who they have had as a sexual partner.

Working with Cancer Council Victoria, Thorne Harbour Health created the ‘Public Cervix Announcement’ campaign. This campaign was created to raise awareness around cervical cancer and debunk some of the myths around who should be screened.

PCA postcard