We unreservedly welcome the fact that Thailand has lobbied hard for the inclusion of such protections in the non-discrimination clause, but are dismayed that Malaysia has blocked these progressive steps. The reasoning given seems contradictory: "in the spirit of unity in diversity" means that diverse views and rights strengthen the whole, whereas this attempt to restrict minority views actually compromises diversity and "unity in diversity". It is evident that there are widely differing views across ASEAN as regards LGBT/SOGI rights, so any "ASEAN common values" must indeed embrace diversity to have any meaning.
We wanted to see what people’s views were, and what more could be done at this stage to support Thailand’s efforts. If a public statement is appropriate, we are more than happy to collaborate with the drafting, or sign a statement or petition.
Hem Sokly (CCHR SOGI Project Co-ordinator)
Below is the link to the Working Draft of the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration.
Please pay attention to page 3, Item 2, specially to the relevant footnotes.
1. Thailand suggested "gender identity" and "sexual orientation" to be included in the non-discrimination clause.
2. Malaysia objected, saying "Any definition of other status and sex is to be determinedby ASEAN common values in the spirit of unity in diversity."