Transgender rights are human rights

Letter of Society of Transsexual Women of the Philippines (STRAP) about Death of Nathalia Anne Gonzales

14/01/2013 01:58

On the murder of Ms Nathalia Anne Gonzales and its media coverage

Recalling Article 6 (1) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, ratified by the Philippine government on 23 October 1986, which states that every human being has the inherent right to life, and that this right shall be protected by law;

Recalling General Principle 5 of the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration, which states that every person has the right to an effective and enforceable remedy, to be determined by a court or other competent authorities, for acts violating the rights granted to that person by the constitution or by law;

Recalling Article 2(11) of the 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines, which obliges the state to value the dignity of every human person and to guarantee full respect for human rights;

Recalling also Article 3(1) of the 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines, which states that no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, nor shall be denied the equal protection of the laws;

Bearing in mind that gender identity, as defined in the Yogyakarta Principles, refer to each person’s deeply felt internal and individual experience of gender, which may or may not correspond with the sex assigned at birth, including the personal sense of the body (which may involve, if freely chosen, modification of bodily appearance or function by medical, surgical or other means) and other expressions of gender, including dress, speech and mannerisms;

Reaffirming Principle 3 of the Yogyakarta Principles, which states that each person’s self-defined sexual orientation and gender identity is integral to their personality and is one of the most basic aspects of self-determination, dignity and freedom;

Reaffirming further Principle 5 of the Yogyakarta Principles, which states that everyone, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, has the right to security of the person and to protection by the State against violence or bodily harm, whether inflicted by government officials or by any individual or group;

Reaffirming furthermore Principle 28 of the Yogyakarta Principles, which states that every victim of a human rights violation, including of a violation based on sexual orientation or gender identity, has the right to effective, adequate and appropriate remedies; and measures taken for the purpose of providing reparation to, or securing adequate advancement of, persons of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities are integral to the right to effective remedies and redress;

Bearing in mind Article 1(3a) of the 2007 Broadcast Code of the Philippines, which states that news reports shall be fair, factual, and objective;

Deeply disturbed by the Transrespect versus Transphobia Worldwide Report, published in November 2012 by Transgender Europe, which indicates that based on 2008-2011 data, the Philippines has the highest number of reported murders of gender variant/trans people in Asia, and is 9th in the world;

Having in mind that a woman of transgender/transsexual experience refer to someone who was assigned as male at birth but who identifies and lives her life as female;

Deeply aware of the fact that referring to transgender people according to their sex assignment at birth (e.g referring to a transgender woman as a man; to a transgender man as a woman) is very disrespectful and perpetuates discriminatory treatment against them;

 

The Society of Transsexual Women of the Philippines

1. Expresses its deepest condolences to the family of Ms Nathalia Anne Gonzales, who was murdered in her own apartment in Cubao, Quezon City;

2. Condemns the rising incidence of violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in the Philippines;

3.  Calls for a speedy investigation of the murder of Ms Gonzales;

4. Urges Philippine media to respect the gender identity of transgender people and to refer to transgender people according to their gender identity; and highly recommends that Philippine media have a constructive and robust dialogue with transgender organizations on how to respectfully and sensitively cover transgender people in their news reports;

5. Requests ABS-CBN’s Umagang Kay Ganda to rectify its gender reference to Ms Nathalia Anne Gonzales from "lalake" to "babaeng transgender" (Lalaki, natagpuang patay sa loob ng kanyang apartment) in its report on January 10, 2013; and further requests ABS-CBN to have a dialogue with transgender organizations on how to respectfully and sensitively cover transgender people in their news reports;

6. Strongly urges the Philippine government to take a clear stand that violence against lesbian, gays, bisexual, and transgender people are violation of human rights;

7. Strongly urges the Philippine government to implement the following recommendations from the Yogyakarta Principles:

(a)    Take all necessary legislative, administrative and other measures to fully respect and legally recognise each person’s self-defined gender identity;

(b)   Take all necessary policing and other measures to prevent and provide protection from all forms of violence and harassment related to sexual orientation and gender identity;

(c)    Take all necessary legislative measures to impose appropriate criminal penalties for violence, threats of violence, incitement to violence and related harassment, based on the sexual orientation or gender identity of any person or group of persons, in all spheres of life, including the family;

(d)   Undertake campaigns of awareness-raising, directed to the general public as well as to actual and potential perpetrators of violence, in order to combat the prejudices that underlie violence related to sexual orientation and gender identity;

(e)    Establish the necessary legal procedures, including through the revision of legislation and policies, to ensure that victims of human rights violations on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity have access to full redress through restitution, compensation, rehabilitation, satisfaction, guarantee of non-repetition, and/or any other means as appropriate;

(f)     Ensure that effective institutions and standards for the provision of remedies and redress are established, and that all personnel are trained in issues of human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity; and

(g)    Ensure training and awareness-raising programmes, including measures aimed at teachers and students at all levels of public education, at professional bodies, and at potential violators of human rights, to promote respect for and adherence to international human rights standards in accordance with these Principles, as well as to counter discriminatory attitudes based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

 

Resources

ASEAN Human Rights Declaration (http://www.asean.org/news/asean-statement-communiques/item/asean-human-rights-declaration)

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/ccpr.htm)

Yogyakarta Principles: The Application of International Human Rights Law in relation to Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (http://www.yogyakartaprinciples.org/)

Association of Transgender People in the Philippines (ATP)

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