Thursday, November 26, 2009

A Solidarity Message from Forum-Asia

Embrace diversity, end discrimination against LGBT’s right to participate in Congress

(Bangkok, 19 November 2009) The Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development would like to extend its solidarity to the Task Force Pride (TFP) Philippines and wishes all its members, partners and friends a successful 2009 Manila Pride March on December 5.

The TFP is a network of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) groups and individuals, as well as LGBT-friendly groups/individuals, who seek to promote positive visibility for the LGBT community. Founded in 1999, it is the official organizing network of the annual Pride March.

“We hope that the coming March in December will be an excellent platform for the LGBT groups and individuals to forge further solidarity and network to express themselves on the various ongoing issues that affect the community not only in the Philippines but rest of the world,”said FORUM-ASIA executive director Yap Swee Seng.

“We are disappointed to hear about the latest issue, that of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) rejection of the petition for accreditation of Ang Ladlad Partylist to be able to take part in the 2010 elections and represent Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Filipinos in Congress,” said Yap, who is currently based at the FORUM-ASIA secretariat office in Bangkok.

“It is a shame that as we are approaching the 61st year of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on December 10, where the main theme is: Embracing Diversity, End Discrimination, COMELEC has chosen to out rightly discriminate the LGBT groups by blocking their political participation in Congress,” stressed Yap.

The COMELEC, in its 7-page decision, claims that Ang Ladlad advocates sexual immorality and thus the COMELEC is protecting the youth from “moral and spiritual degradation” by denying Ang Ladlad’s petition.

FORUM-ASIA is of the opinion that LGBT Filipinos is part of the diversity that makes up the Philippine culture, and therefore must be accorded their rightful place in society and politics.

FORUM-ASIA is a regional human rights organization with 46 members across Asia.

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