No representative from the Coalition was able to be present in Geneva but they followed via the live UN webcast the whole 3h30 interactive dialogue of their country. Two activists from Chinese LGBT community, Joseph Akoro former Director of The Initiative for Equal Rights and Ifeanyi Orazulike from International Centre for Advocacy on Rights to Health (ICARH), were in Geneva and were involved before, during and after the review of their respective countries.
In the attached excel document you can find the list of countries that made recommendations and advanced questions based on sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) to China, Nigeria and Malaysia.
China received two recommendations and one advanced question based on SOGI. At its last review in 2009 it received none.
The recommendations were made by Ireland and the Netherlands. They called on China to establish anti-discrimination laws and regulations to ensure that LGBT persons enjoy equal treatment, including at schools and in the workplace, and to prohibit discrimination of any kind including discrimination based on SOGI, ethnicity, religion and infection with HIV, in labour and employment law.
The advanced question was made by Norway. Norway asked China which step China will take to ensure SOGI is not cause for discrimination when people access to education, employment and health services. Norway also asked China if they would remove transgender from the list of mental disorders in the Chinese Classification and Diagnostic Criteria of Mental Disorders.
China has not yet indicated whether it will accept or reject these recommendations
One Chinese activist said: “We are enthusiastic that two states have made SOGI recommendations and one state made advanced question on SOGI at China’s UPR review last week, especially as they are recommendations and questions in line with the priority messages we identified and have been lobbying them to make.”
A staff member from a Chinese LGBT organization added: “We now hope that China will accept and follow-up on these recommendations and answer the advanced question, and we will be available and willing to assist Chinese government to make that happens.”
Nigeria received ten recommendations from nine countries and two advance questions based on SOGI. At its last review in 2009 it received just two recommendations.
The recommendations were made by Argentina, Australia, Austria (2 recommendations), Canada, Czech Republic, France, Sweden, Uruguay and the United States of America. They called on Nigeria to take necessary measures to protect and eradicate discrimination based on sexual orientation and to consider repealing legislation that criminalizes persons on the base of their SOGI.
The Nigerian government clearly stated both in its opening presentation and in its concluding remarks that it will reject all recommendations based on SOGI because it is against the religious and cultural values of the country, quoting that recent polling data suggested that 92% of Nigerians support the Anti Same-Sex Marriage Bill passed by the Senate.
Ifeanyi Orazulike said: “Unfortunately, the Nigerian government was quick to mention that ‘Nigeria does not accept the recommendations on same-sex marriage and it is not the priority of the country’. The government hears these recommendations to ensure that laws and policies protect the rights of all Nigerians as "legalize same-sex marriage" which on the contrary are not the case.”
Joseph Akoro added: “I would like to appreciate the assistance of all those NGOs in helping to circulate our suggested SOGI-related recommendations and questions beforehand. It worked!”
Malaysia received eight recommendations and two question in advance based on SOGI. At its last review in 2009 it received just two recommendations which were rejected.
These UPR recommendations were made by Chile, France, The Netherlands, USA, Argentina, Canada, Croatia and Germany. They called on Malaysia to take necessary measures to protect and eradicate discrimination based on sexual orientation and to consider repealing legislation that criminalizes persons on the base of their SOGI.
At the beginning of the UPR session the Malaysian government responded to the written questions by saying it will handle them carefully in close consideration with cultural values but it did not mention whether it will accept the recommendations made.
Thilaga Sulathireh, member of the Coalition, said “The Malaysian government must take meaningful measures to address the questions and concerns raised during the review; cultural values should not hinder the human rights of any person. There has been a lot of interest on the UPR in our country and we have organised a talk and public screening of the webcast. Eventually all these efforts will bear fruit for a discrimination-free society”.
ILGA would like to add its thanks to all those LGBT activists who worked locally and to those who supported them in many different ways.
The formal adoption of the UPR report of the above countries will take place at the 25th Session of the Human Rights Council, from 3 till 28 March 2014.