UNDP and USAID convene national LGBT dialogue to advance understanding of the social and legal environment faced by the community in the Philippines
Manila -- Recognizing the importance of the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) people, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) are holding the Philippine National LGBT Community Dialogue from 29 to 30 June 2013 in Manila.
The dialogue will discuss the country situation and response on human rights related to sexual orientation and gender identity. It seeks to promote understanding on the legal and social environments in which LGBT people and rights advocates operate.
Toshihiro Tanaka, UNDP Philippines Country Director said, “The United Nations promotes and upholds the rights of every human being. Without exception, human rights apply to everyone, including LGBT people. This event will give us better understanding of the LGBT human rights situation in the country and how it can be better promoted.”
While a number of local governments in the Philippines, including Cebu, Davao and Naga, are making headway in promoting the rights of LGBT people, much remains to be done in ensuring social and political inclusion of the LGBT people in the country.
A national legislation preventing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity is yet to be enacted and LGBT representation in Congress also remains an aspiration. Despite the Philippine society’s tolerance towards sexual and gender diversity, discrimination and crimes against LGBT people persist. In spite of these, there is apparent lack of proportionate responses to the human rights of LGBT people in the country.
U.S. Embassy Manila’s USAID Mission Director Gloria D. Steele said, “The rights of LGBT people must be respected everywhere. The results of this activity will serve as a guide for development partners and governments at all levels to improve their engagement in addressing the needs of LGBT communities more effectively.”
The event is supported by Being LGBT in Asia, a groundbreaking joint initiative between UNDP and USAID, and is being implemented in Cambodia, China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. Being LGBT in Asia is working with LGBT communities, universities and human rights organizations to gain insights into the challenges and successes of LGBT communities in Asia.
Philip Castro, Program Officer, UNDP Philippines
Kiel Enrique, Development Outreach and Communications Specialist, USAID/Philippines