The United Nations (UN) Human Rights Committee, which monitors State compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCCPR), has published its List of Issues for the upcoming review of both Turkey and the Philippines in November 2012.
The List of Issues is a set of publicly circulated questions, which are directly addressed to the State party under review, and which invite that State to respond to and account for allegations of human rights abuse within its territory. It is drawn up on the basis of the official State report and additional submissions made to the Committee by civil society.
For both the Turkey and Philippines review, the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Committee (IGLHRC) worked in close partnership with numerous local partners, documenting instances of human rights abuse and drafting a comprehensive submission on anti-LGBT discrimination and violence, which we submitted to the Committee in December 2011.
The result has been an overwhelmingly positive response from the Committee, which included extensive reference to LGBT rights violations in the List of Issues. IGLHRC is pleased to see that the Committee has addressed the particularly egregious discrimination and violence, which individuals experience on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in Turkey and the Philippines. For instance, the Committee specifically referred to an incident, raised by IGLHRC and our partners in our submission, where three Pink Life activists in Turkey were arbitrarily arrested and convicted in November 2011. Similarly, the Committee also highlighted concerns that the Filipino State currently fails to provide legal protection for LGBTI persons.
The List of Issues forms the basis of the questions, which the Committee will put to both the Turkish and Filipino Governments during their oral review in November. Inclusion in the list is therefore a vital first step in holding Turkey and the Philippines accountable for the way in which they treat their LGBTI citizens.
Over the coming months, IGLHRC will continue its work around both these countries, submitting an updated report for the Committee’s oral review. We will also attend the November session, with members of Turkish and Philippines civil society, and will advocate for the ultimate inclusion of LGBTI rights violations in the Committee’s Concluding Observations.