Dear friends,

welcome to the second edition of Advancing Equality, ILGA’s programmatic newsletter, where we present and highlight some of our work at the UN and on Gender Identity & Gender Expression issues.

Since we last wrote in September, a lot has happened! Perhaps most importantly, we got to meet with many ILGA members and partners at the ILGA World Conference in Bangkok in November/December last year where we organized and participated in a range of pre-conferences, workshops and talks.
We’ve given a snapshot of these below in case you couldn’t make it, or just need a little reminding!

During this period we also launched two new reports:

We hope these both will help your own work and advocacy, and we would love to hear from you as to what you think of them!

We also couldn’t finish without highlighting the work of the new Independent Expert on SOGI: Professor Vitit Muntarbhorn.
Since we last wrote, he not only opened the ILGA World Conference, but we and others defended the very existence of his position in four votes at the UN General Assembly in New York, he announced his first country visit (to Argentina) and ILGA ensured that defenders from around the world had dedicated time with him to share LGBTI perspectives both in Bangkok in November and in Geneva in January before he starts writing his first report.

2017 promises to be another busy year…

André, Diana, Kseniya and Zhan

 Vitit_Ruth_Helen

NEW INDEPENDENT EXPERT ON SOGI

ILGA has been working hard to support the work of Professor Vitit Muntarbhorn, the new Independent Expert on SOGI, and to ensure that defenders got to meet him and share their perspectives.

[Read more]

CHALLENGES TO UN INDEPENDENT EXPERT ON SOGI

In New York in November and December there were four attempts to undo the SOGI resolution that passed in Geneva in June 2016. ILGA and many other NGOs mobilized around the world to bring about this successful – if exhausting – defence of the new position.

[Read more]

Advancing_Equality_Special_Procedures_programme

The new UN Independent Expert on SOGI is just one of 55 “Special Procedures” at the UN.
At the ILGA World Conference, there was a one-day pre-conference on their system: as follow-up, we are now working with participants to develop strategic groups to engage with different parts of the Special Procedures.

[Read more]


Advancing_Equality_UPR_programme

LAUNCH OF THE REPORT SEXUAL ORIENTATION. GENDER IDENTITY AND EXPRESSION AND SEX CHARACTERISTICS AT THE UNIVERSAL PERIODIC REVIEW

ILGA, the International Bar Association and ARC International launched the first comprehensive UPR research made on SOGIESC issues that has compiled trends of the different cycles on SOGIESC issues.

[Read more]

26th UPR WORKING GROUP SESSION

With 16 SOGIESC advances questions made by the recommending states, 4 gender identity specific recommendations and the first intersex recommendation made in the UPR, the 26th UPR working group sessions have come to an end.

[Read more]

UPR_report

UPR WORKSHOPS IN BANGKOK, THAILAND

Bangkok, Thailand was the chance to share with Asian civil society the ins and outs of the UPR and the different ways of engagement with this mechanism.

[Read more]

RETOUR SUR LA FRANCOPHONIE À LA CONFÉRENCE MONDIALE DE L’ILGA

In the frame of a Retour sur la francophonie à la Conférence mondiale de l’ILGA, the UPR Programme had the chance to explain the UPR in a nutshell.

[Read more]

Advancing_Equality_TreatyBodies_programme

WORKSHOP ON LBTI WOMEN’S VOICES AT THE UN

On December 2nd, ILGA’s UN Programme Officer Kseniya Kirichenko held a workshop titled LBTI Women’s voices at the UN: strategic approaches in the work of the Treaty Bodies and elsewhere.
During the workshop, UN mechanisms available for activists working on LBTI rights were discussed, including Treaty Bodies, Special Procedures, UPR and the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). Four human rights defenders from different parts of the world told about their experience of advocating for the communities’ needs.

[Read more]

RAINBOW TALK: QUIETLY WORKING AWAY - UN TREATY BODIES & LGBTI RIGHTS

During the ILGA World Conference, a Rainbow Talk was held on UN Treaty Bodies and LGBTI rights.
The presentation offered a chance to introduce a tool on Treaty Bodies  developed at ILGA, annual reports that include the analysis of seven committees’ work on LGBTI issues and a compilation of their concluding observations on SOGIESC.

[Read more]

Advancing_Equality_GIGE_programme

TRANS PRE-CONFERENCE AT ILGA WORLD CONFERENCE

The Trans Pre-Conference took place on Tuesday, 29th November, the day before the opening of the main ILGA World Conference. Hosted by the Trans Secretariat, it has historically been a space where trans and gender non-binary people meet and caucus before the main conference, in part to discuss or decide as a collective on the nominees for the next Trans Secretariat and its alternate, and any other topics of thematic or strategic importance to trans communities.

[Read more]

WORKSHOP AT ILGA WORLD CONFERENCE: THE INTERNATIONAL CLASSIFICATION OF DISEASES - INTERNATIONAL AND REGIONAL TRANS PERSPECTIVES

Within the main programme of the World Conference was a workshop on the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) as it impacts on trans persons across different regions, as well as the growing international mobilization of trans organisations against pathologizing of trans identities.

[Read more]

 

THE PEARL OF AFRICA FILM SCREENING AND Q&A

The Pearl of Africa, a documentary about a Ugandan trans woman, Cleo Kambugu, is both a love story to Uganda as well as a love story in itself.
We were able to organise a film screening of the 75-minute documentary immediately after the Trans Pre-Conference and, as luck would have it, Cleo was in Bangkok as one of the conference participants and so we could also host a 30-minute Q&A session with her.

[Read more]

ILGA LAUNCHES ITS FIRST TRANS LEGAL MAPPING REPORT

In November 2016, ILGA’s Gender Identity and Gender Expression Programme published its first Trans Legal Mapping Report. Released both in English and Spanish, it is a compilation of laws, administrative procedures and processes setting out the ability and limits of trans and gender-diverse people around the world to change their sex/gender markers and names on official identity documents.

[Read more]

whats-coming-up

 

Below is a list of upcoming deadlines for the Treaty Bodies and the Universal Periodic Review.

Treaty Bodies:

Deadlines for NGO submissions for February - April 2017: http://ilga.org/what-we-do/united-nations/treaty-bodies/deadlines/

Universal Periodic Review:

If you are from France, Tonga, Romania, Mali, Botswana, Bahamas, Burundi, Luxembourg, Barbados, Montenegro, United Arab Emirates, Israel, Liechtenstein or Serbia and wish to engage in the UPR please contact us at upr@ilga.org

 

This issue of Advancing Equality was prepared by:


4

NEW INDEPENDENT EXPERT ON SOGI

ILGA has been working hard to support the work of Professor Vitit Muntarbhorn, the new Independent Expert on SOGI. He came to the ILGA World Conference in Bangkok where he gave a rousing keynote address that you can find here.

While there, he also met with ten groups of defenders representing the ten ILGA caucus groups: Women, Bisexual, Intersex, Trans, North America, Latin America & the Caribbean, Europe, Africa, Asia & Oceania.

He also had an interview with Ruth Baldacchino and Helen Kennedy – ILGA’s co-Secretaries General – that you can view below. In it he shared a little more of his approaches to his work and some of his motivation.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3-khx9lFMts

In January 2017, ILGA continued to work closely with Professor Muntarbhorn when he held his first-ever public consultation in Geneva. ILGA worked hard to ensure that defenders got to meet him and share their perspectives. We also made a strong and emotional intervention that you can read and watch here.

André du Plessis

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CHALLENGES TO UN INDEPENDENT EXPERT ON SOGI

In New York in November and December there were four attempts to undo the SOGI resolution that passed in Geneva in June 2016.

a) First, on 21 November 2016 there was a resolution brought by the African Group in the UN General Assembly Third Committee (the Committee that looks at human rights issues). that sought to suspended the new position “in order to allow time for further consultations to determine the legal basis upon which [it is] established”. Eight Latin American countries brought an amendment to that resolution to delete those words. 84 countries voted in favour of that amendment, 77 voted against, and 17 countries abstained. The remainder did not vote.

b) Second, on 19 December 2016 that resolution was then brought to the plenary of the General Assembly (i.e. out of committee and now into the main room). The African Group sought to reintroduce the exact same wording that had been removed at the Committee level. That proposal was again defeated 84 to 77, with 16 abstentions.

vote_breakdown_mandate_SOGI_Independent_Expert_United_Nations_General_Assembly

c) Third, on 23 December in the UN General Assembly Fifth Committee (this is where budgetary questions are brought), the African Group sought to cancel the financial support for the work of the Independent Expert. This proposal was defeated with 82 votes against, 65 in favour and 16 abstentions.

d) Fourthly, again back in the plenary of the General Assembly the proposal to defund the work of the Independent Expert was again brought by the African Group with the same words, and was again defeated with 81 votes against, 65 in favour, and 16 abstentions.

ILGA and many other NGOs mobilized around the world to bring about this successful – if exhausting – defence of the new position. Thank you for all your help!

André du Plessis

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SPECIAL PROCEDURES PROGRAMME

The new UN Independent Expert on SOGI is just one of 55 “Special Procedures” at the UN, ranging from experts looking at health, housing and water rights, through freedom of expression, women’s issues and human rights defenders, to country situations such as Myanmar, Belarus and Syria.

At the ILGA World Conference, there was a one-day pre-conference on UN Special Procedures, organized by the ILGA UN Programme Team. About 100 people from all regions attended and a report and materials from the conference are available here.

As follow-up, we are now working with participants to develop strategic groups to engage with different parts of the Special Procedures. If you would like to participate in that discussion or get involved in work with the Special Procedures, let us know by emailing un@ilga.org.

André du Plessis

[back to top]

Advancing_Equality_UPR_programme

LAUNCH OF THE REPORT SEXUAL ORIENTATION. GENDER IDENTITY AND EXPRESSION AND SEX CHARACTERISTICS AT THE UNIVERSAL PERIODIC REVIEW

UPR_reportILGA World, the International Bar Association and ARC International launched the first comprehensive UPR research made on SOGIESC issues that has compiled trends of the different cycles on SOGIESC issues.

The UPR has become a crucial mechanism to protect LGBTI persons worldwide. On November 9 in Geneva Switzerland, with a panel of human rights defenders from Malaysia and Thailand and with the participation of States representatives and the OHCHR, ILGA, the International Bar Association and ARC International presented their research that included recommendations for the states under review, civil society and legal professionals. This has been the first comprehensive research made on SOGIESC issues that has compiled trends of the different cycles on SOGIESC issues. Watch a short clip or access the full video here, or read our summary.

The research was also launched at the ILGA World Conference in Bangkok, Thailand during the Rainbow Talk titled The UPR holds a significant promise for LGBTI communities. Bangkok was also the opportunity to have a round table with some of the human rights defenders who were part of the research and through the workshop UPR, a mechanism to protect human rights of LGBTI persons worldwide they had the chance to share with the audience some of the most important highlights of the research such as coalition building, diversified and sophisticated strategies of civil society, good practices on follow-up and implementation, engaging countries through regional mechanisms, working with lawyers and civil society coalitions amongst others.

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26th UPR WORKING GROUP SESSION

The 26th UPR working group sessions have come to an end, and so has the second cycle of the UPR.

During these working group sessions, States asked 16 SOGIESC advanced questions to the states under review. Iceland, Haiti and Timor-Leste received their first SOGIESC recommendations, 4 gender identity specific recommendations were made, and the first intersex recommendation was made by Australia to Iceland.

ILGA delivered a statement at the Human Rights Council and talked about the challenges on follow-up and implementation that states and civil society have faced in the past two cycles.  If you want to know more about the working group sessions, please check out our summary report!

Also in preparation of this working group session four human rights defenders from Lithuania, Venezuela and Zimbabwe joined ILGA’s UPR advocacy week. If you want more information about the 26th working group sessions, you can read our summary report.

[back to top]

UPR WORKSHOPS IN BANGKOK, THAILAND

UPR_BKK
Bangkok, Thailand was the chance to share with Asian civil society the ins and outs of the UPR and the different ways of engagement with this mechanism.

During the month of November, the UPR Programme participated in two UPR workshops. As the Chinese UPR is coming-up, Chinese civil society is getting prepared and they wanted to hear from ILGA’s experience how to engage and how to make in-country and Geneva advocacy.

Bangkok was also the opportunity to participate in a workshop organized by APCOM, ASEAN SOGIE Caucus, UPR-Info Asia, ILGA Asia and the Canadian Embassy, whose objective was to have lively discussions on the importance of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) as a safe space for inclusion, empowerment, and a political tool to advance SOGIE rights.

During both spaces the UPR Programme had the chance to share the work it does with human rights defenders and give some tips to human rights defenders on how to make better submissions and better in-country and Geneva advocacy.

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RETOUR SUR LA FRANCOPHONIE À LA CONFÉRENCE MONDIALE DE L’ILGAUPR_Franc1

In the frame of a Retour sur la francophonie à la Conférence mondiale de l’ILGA, the UPR Programme had the chance to explain in a nutshell the UPR.

In January, Solidarité International LGBTQI and Centre LGBT de Paris-Île-de-France had the initiative to organise in Paris an encounter for the francophone LGBTI NGOs to summarize and discuss what happened at ILGA’s World Conference.

The UPR Programme was invited to explain the mechanism of the UPR and the different forms and tools of engagement for francophone LGBTI civil society. Other panelists that participated on this summary were: Clifton Cortez from the World Bank, Suki Beavers from the UNDP, Matthew Hart of Global Philanthropy Project, Régis Samba-Kounzi who shared his photographic work LGBTI people in Democratic Republic of Congo.

Diana Carolina Prado Mosquera

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Advancing_Equality_TreatyBodies_programme

WORKSHOP ON LBTI WOMEN’S VOICES AT THE UN

On December 2nd, Kseniya Kirichenko, ILGA’s UN Programme Officer, held a workshop titled LBTI Women’s voices at the UN: strategic approaches in the work of the Treaty Bodies and elsewhere.
During the workshop, UN mechanisms available for activists working on LBTI rights have been discussed, including Treaty Bodies, Special Procedures, UPR and the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW).

Four human rights defenders from different parts of the world told about their experience of advocating for the communities’ needs. Natia Gvianishvili from Georgian Women's Initiatives Supporting Group and Azusa Yamashita from Gay Japan News looked back at their participation in country reviews by CEDAW Committee, when they presented shadow reports on lesbian and bisexual women and trans persons obtaining LBT-inclusive recommendations. Then, Miriam van der Have from OII Europe and the Dutch Intersex NGO NNID Foundation told about strategies to advance intersex rights where we’ve seen a huge progress during last couple of years. After that, Gloria Careaga from Fundación Arcoíris, Mexico gave a retrospective on lesbian issues at the CSW.

During the discussion following the presentations, activists participating in the workshop raised different concerns and share best practice examples related to LBTI rights, including individual communication mechanisms under the Treaty Bodies system, implementation of the UN recommendations on the national level, and the current state of LBTI agenda at the CSW.

Activists who participated in the workshop were also provided with printed materials on LBTI rights at the UN prepared by ILGA: summary of relevant work done by the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences and the Working Group on the issue of discrimination against women in law and in practice, as well as analysis of CEDAW work on LBTI rights in 2014, 2015 and 2016.

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RAINBOW TALK: QUIETLY WORKING AWAY - UN TREATY BODIES & LGBTI RIGHTS

RT1 - Copia

On December 1st, Kseniya Kirichenko, ILGA’s UN Programme Officer and Helen Nolan, ISHR’s Training and advocacy support manager who worked previously on Treaty Bodies and Special Procedures with ILGA, held a Rainbow Talk titled Quietly working away - UN Treaty Bodies & LGBTI rights.

At their presentation, Helen and Kseniya told about a tool on Treaty Bodies (TBs) developed at ILGA – annual reports that include the analysis of seven committees’ work on LGBTI issues and a compilation of their concluding observations on SOGIESC, and main results of the research conducted for these publications.

The presenters highlighted trends and gaps in TB’s work in relation to specific identities (lesbian/women, trans and intersex) and LGBTI rights in general, and shared some ideas on how the mentioned research and other ILGA’s tools could help activists working on the ground to advocate effectively for their communities’ needs using the UN TB’s mechanisms.

Kseniya Kirichenko

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Advancing_Equality_GIGE_programme

TRANS PRE-CONFERENCE AT ILGA WORLD CONFERENCE

 

The Trans Pre-Conference took place on Tuesday, 29th November, the day before the opening of the main ILGA World Conference. Hosted by the Trans Secretariat, it has historically been a space where Trans and Gender Non-Binary people meet and caucus before the main conference, in part to discuss or decide as a collective on the nominees for the next Trans Secretariat and its alternate, and any other topics of thematic or strategic importance to trans communities.

The morning began with reports from the Trans Secretariat on its activities in 2015 and 2016, which included the ILGA Asia, Oceania and Europe regional conferences, the Commission on the Status of Women, and the Global LGBTI Human Rights Conference in Montevideo. For the first time, the Gender Identity and Gender Expression Programme also reported on its work since the inception of the programme, which included the launch of the Trans Legal Mapping Report, joint work with ILGA’s UN programme, and supporting regional trans organisations.
This was followed by a closed caucus session, open only to Trans and Gender Non-Conforming identified people which, amongst other things, decided on the Alternate Trans Secretariat nominee.

Finally, there were two topical sessions. The first was a workshop conducted by South African doctor and trans activist, Anastacia Thomson, Advocating for Healthcare, which discussed gatekeeping, informed consent, medical ethics and the role of service providers in trans healthcare.
The final session, a panel made up of regional and international activists, discussed the current funding landscape for trans organisations in light of the International Trans Fund (ITF) and the Arcus-NoVo Foundation Global Trans Initiative. Members of the Interim Steering Committee of the ITF were on the panel, and this made for an interesting discussion on trans ownership of the ITF, and how activists could get involved.

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WORKSHOP AT ILGA WORLD CONFERENCE: THE INTERNATIONAL CLASSIFICATION OF DISEASES - INTERNATIONAL AND REGIONAL TRANS PERSPECTIVES

GIGE4

Within the main programme of the World Conference was a workshop on the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) as it impacts on trans persons across different regions, as well as the growing international mobilization of trans organisations against pathologizing of trans identities.

Panelists were Amets Suess (Stop Trans Pathlogization), Joshua Sehoole (Iranti), Adam Smiley (Transgender Europe), Cianán Russell (Asia Pacific Transgender Network) and Mauro Cabral (Global Action for Trans* Equality), moderated by Zhan Chiam (ILGA).

Panelists first covered the ICD-11 revision process and timeline, and the development of trans global mobilization, bringing different understandings of “gender identity disorder” and pathologization, and how shared demands have developed over time.

From an African perspective, issues included science and medicine as part of relational system (with values relating to colonialism, gender and sexuality), the lack of access to HIV medication for trans people because of discrimination, and the lack of access to healthcare generally, even with pathologizing diagnoses. For Europe, the discussion was about the diversity of laws, health systems and cultures and how that impacted on access to health for trans people. In Asia, a range and variety of experiences was highlighted, as was the need for desegregated and strategic data collection that impacts on access to healthcare, including non-Western language and non-colonial identities.

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THE PEARL OF AFRICA FILM SCREENING AND Q&A

GIGE5

The Pearl of Africa, a documentary about a Ugandan trans woman, Cleo Kambugu, is both a love story to Uganda as well as a love story in itself. It follows Cleo’s medical transition in Bangkok, Thailand, and candidly shows her relationship with her high school sweetheart, Nelson, as they navigate a space through homophobia and transphobia in Uganda.
We were able to organise a film screening of the 75-minute documentary immediately after the Trans Pre-Conference and, as luck would have it, Cleo was in Bangkok as one of the conference participants and so we could also host a 30-minute Q&A session with her. To an audience of about 40 people, Cleo spoke openly about being trans in Uganda, her relationship with her family and her partner and what the aim of the documentary was – as an advocacy tool for trans medical services, especially transition related services. It was a fantastic opportunity for the audience, most of whom were not from East Africa, to watch the documentary and listen to Cleo’s reflections in person.

[back to top]

 

ILGA LAUNCHES ITS FIRST TRANS LEGAL MAPPING REPORT

GIGE7

In November 2016, ILGA’s Gender Identity and Gender Expression Programme published its first Trans Legal Mapping Report (in English and Spanish) – a compilation of laws, administrative procedures and processes setting out the ability and limits of trans and gender-diverse people around the world to change their sex/gender markers and names on official identity documents.

At the ILGA World Conference in Bangkok, the publication was launched with a Rainbow Talk by co-authors Zhan Chiam and Sandra Duffy, outlining the methodology and aims of the project.
The authors also took the opportunity of the numbers of researchers attending the conference to host a strategy meeting about the future direction of this and other related research projects on trans rights.

We hope that the research contributes to data and analysis of trans rights around the world, and that our report will be useful to human rights activists, states, researchers and other interested parties.

Zhan Chiam

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whats-coming-up
Below is a list of upcoming deadlines for the Treaty Bodies and the Universal Periodic Review.

Treaty Bodies:
Deadlines for NGO submissions for February - April 2017: http://ilga.org/what-we-do/united-nations/treaty-bodies/deadlines/

Universal Periodic Review:
If you are from France, Tonga, Romania, Mali, Botswana, Bahamas, Burundi, Luxembourg, Barbados, Montenegro, United Arab Emirates, Israel, Liechtenstein or Serbia and wish to engage in the UPR please contact us at upr@ilga.org

 

This issue of Advancing Equality was prepared by:

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