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.

 

A public crisis, with a feeling of deja vu – the online abuse of Australian women

The Guardian, Saturday 23 April 2016

As recently as in the past six months, the high-profile campaign against domestic violence spearheaded by Rosie Batty has expanded to include the abuse regularly experienced by women on the internet, by both known and unknown perpetrators.

New data has helped to reveal the staggering extent of the problem in Australia. A study by the digital security firm Norton, released in March, found nearly half of women had experienced some form of abuse or harassment online and suggested that women felt that online abuse was a growing problem that they were powerless to act over.

  • Read more of article here
  • Access Norton’s research here

 

Countries should put women at the forefront of the UN drug policy debate

The Conversation, April 19, 2016 10.25am AEST

The United Nations will hold a special session in New York this week to review global drug policy. The summit has the potential to revolutionise the drug control system enshrined in international law since 1961.

If UN member states are serious about drug reform, they must act on the disproportionate harm of prohibitionist drug policies on women worldwide.

Globally, women make up one-third of all drug users, including around 3.8 million women who inject drugs. Women who use drugs are at higher risk than men of acquiring disease, including HIV.

Read more here

Union resistance could stymie prison needle exchange program: researcher

Guardian, Monday 19 October 2015

A senior blood-borne diseases researcher, Associate Professor Mark Stoové, says Australia’s first prison needle and syringe program flagged for trial in an ACT jail is most likely doomed because of the influence of a union and its members.

Stoové criticised the Community and Public Sector Union’s resistance to a proposal by the ACT government to trial a needle and syringe program in the Alexander Maconochie Centre, a maximum security prison.

Read more here