Activists call for coordinated, human rights-based response to gender equality and gender-based violence in Thailand

06-Mar-2016

Photo credit: Photo: Sirinapha Jittimanee/2016/UNDP

A more coordinated, multi-sectoral response is needed to address gender inequality and gender-based violence of marginalized people in Thai society, including women, children and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people, said participants at a conference today in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

More than 300 people attended the Conference to Promote Gender Equality and End Gender-Based Violence in Women, Children and LGBTI. This one-day conference was jointly convened by the Civil Society Organizations for Gender Equality Network and supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) through the Being LGBTI in Asia Programme. The participants represented a wide array of marginalized groups such as migrants, students, youth, indigenous populations, LGBTI people, people living with disabilities, and people living with HIV, as well as government, civil society and development partners.

“UNDP is committed to advocating for change and reducing inequalities and exclusion. Our ultimate goal is to achieve real improvements in people’s lives and in the choices and opportunities open to them,” said Martin Hart-Hansen, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative for Thailand in his opening remarks at the conference.

“UNDP is committed to working closely with our government and non-government partners to ensure that all marginalized populations, including women, children and LGBTI, are protected as well as actively encouraged and supported in achieving the full realization of their rights," he added.

This gathering was the first step of the Civil Society Organizations for Gender Equality Network in their campaign for human rights and gender equality for all. Through the conference, the network sought allies from all sectors to push forward gender equality and justice in society.

“Inequality in social structure causes many forms of structural violence including violence against women and children, violence against LGBTI, which lead to the violation of human rights of these groups,” said Matcha Phorn-in, Director of named Sangsan Anakod Yaowachon Development Project, a LGBTI civil society organization based in Chiang Mai.

Central to the objectives of the network and the conference was the concept of intersectionality, which is based on the premise that people’s traits, such as gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, class, etc., are intrinsically interlinked and provides a framework for understanding and addressing systemic social inequality and injustice.

The conference featured a panel session with testimonials of social stigma and discrimination experienced by different marginalized populations. Cases were heard of stigma and discrimination perpetrated on members of indigenous communities based on their sexual orientation, gender identity and expression.

Collectively, the participants expressed their need for equal access to social services and called for action to help reduce inequality in society.  

Being LGBTI in Asia is a regional programme supported by UNDP, the Swedish Embassy in Bangkok and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) which aims to reduce marginalization and exclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people. Initiated in 2012, the programme promotes universal access to health and social services and addresses inequality, violence and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or intersex status.

For more information, visit: http://www.asia-pacific.undp.org/content/rbap/en/home/operations/projects/overview/being-lgbt-in-asia/.

Conference to promote gender euality and end gender-based violence in women, children and LGBTI