South Asia: Call to tackle anti-LGBTQI discrimination

South Asia: Call to tackle anti-LGBTQI discrimination - Protection

On International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia, ARTICLE 19 Bangladesh calls for action to guarantee equal rights to LGBTQI people, who continue to face discrimination and abuse for expressing their sexuality or gender identity. The day represents an important moment to draw the attention of decision-makers, the media, the public, corporations, opinion leaders, and local authorities to the alarming situation faced by people with diverse sexual orientations, and gender identities or expressions.

Faruq Faisel, South Asia Regional Director of ARTICLE 19 Bangladesh and South Asia said: “In Bangladesh, just like our neighbours in South Asia, LGBTQI people face plenty of stigmas and are disenfranchised due to a lack of legal protections and cultural biases. According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, all people must be guaranteed equal rights. Thus, attacks on LGBTQI people and discrimination against them are a grave violation of fundamental human rights. Every citizen has the right to live a dignified life and be protected from abuse whatever their sexual orientation or gender identity.”

ARTICLE 19 condemns all such attacks, hate speech, and discrimination against these groups. No one should be killed or attacked for practicing their freedom to express their gender identity and sexual orientation. Human rights must guaranteed to all, regardless of nationality, sex, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, language, or any other status and cannot be  denied or taken away. Countries in South Asia have a long way to go to pave the way for equal rights and protection for all people.

Faruq Faisel added, “Significant steps need to be taken to ensure that we are not leaving any one behind in our efforts to ensure human rights protections.”

According to UNDP, LGBTQI people still face serious challenges in their everyday life. With 69 countries still criminalizing same sex relations, millions of lesbians, gay men and bisexual people live in fear of being who they are and showing whom they love. Transgender people are subjected to punishments in at least 26 countries and experience unprecedented levels of violence across the globe.

Moreover, people and their rights must be placed front and centre in the COVID-19 response and recovery.

We must break the silence when it comes to the stigma and discrimination experienced by LGBTQI people. This is a day when we should raise our voices and commit to respect of human dignity for all the people and ensure a just and inclusive society.

For more information:

Faruq Faisel

South Asia Regional Director