Human Rights Day in Bangkok: “Our rights, our freedoms, always”

HumanRightsDayESCAPIn Bangkok. the Regional Office for South-East Asia joined global events to mark Human Rights Day, where our activities revolved around the theme “Freedom”, human rights within the framework of the newly adopted Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and LGBTI rights.

At the UN regional headquarters in Bangkok, UNDG hosted a panel discussion on ‘What can the Sustainable Development Goals do for human rights in the Asia-Pacific region: UN and civil society perspectives’.

We had a lively discussion on a range of topics, including:
- human rights trends in the East Asian region
- the relationship between economic development and human rights
- using a human rights based approach in implementing the SDG agenda
- educating the armed forces and security forces on human rights and SDGs.

Speakers included Evelyn Balais-Serrano (Executive Director FORUM-ASIA), Matilda Bogner (OHCHR Regional Representative for South-East Asia) and Yoriko Yasukawa (Director Asia-Pacific Regional Office UNFPA). The event was organized and moderated by Heike Alefsen (Regional Human Rights Adviser UNDG).

HumanRightsDayLGBTI.Representatives of the South-East Asia Regional Office also attended an event promoting LGBTI rights. Speakers expressed concerns on various issues faced by members of the LGBTI community. These included:

- members of the gay and lesbian community are unable to marry in Thailand
- a relationship between a couple from LGBTI community is not legally recognized
- discrimination toward transgender or Intersex people.

Among the speakers of the LGBTI event were Jesus Miguel Sanz (Ambassador of the European Union), Kannikar Saengthong (Director-General of the Rights and Liberties Protection Department, Ministry of Justice) and Yollada Suanyot (President of TransFemale Association of Thailand).

* For more information on the SDGs and human rights, visit the following websites:
http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/MDG/Pages/Intro.aspx
https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/?menu=1300/em>

December 2015