Plenary 2: Leave No One Behind: The SDGs and Interlinkages with LGBTQI Rights and SOGIESC. The Pacific LGBTQI Roadmap to 2030. Moderated by  @ SuliqueWaqa   of  @ HKhameleon   at the 2nd Pacific Human Rights Conference, Sofitel Resort & Spa - Nadi, FIJI

Plenary 2: Leave No One Behind: The SDGs and Interlinkages with LGBTQI Rights and SOGIESC. The Pacific LGBTQI Roadmap to 2030. Moderated by @SuliqueWaqa of @HKhameleon at the 2nd Pacific Human Rights Conference, Sofitel Resort & Spa - Nadi, FIJI



31 May, 2018 (Nadi). Pacific lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex (LGBTQI) and gender non-conforming delegates attending the 2018 Pacific Human Right Conference in Nadi, Fiji were informed on how the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) can be used to advance equality, justice and human rights of Pacific LGBTQI people.

The SDGs, globally agreed in 2015 and signed onto by 193 Governments on the basis that they apply to everyone, everywhere and will “leave no one behind” is especially relevant for LGBTQI people, who have repeatedly faced human rights violations, and have been marginalised, ignored, left out and left behind by local, national, regional and international development initiatives.

“Discriminatory laws, projects that don’t acknowledge our specific needs and negative social attitudes have all combined to hold LGBTQI people back. The impacts of this are felt by LGBTQI communities in the Pacific and in all parts of the world-lower income, worse health, less education, among others. As a result, poverty as a whole will never truly be eradicated until this problem is directly addressed, said Sulique Waqa, transfeminist and Creative Director of Haus of Khameleon and Member of the 2018 PHRC Programme Committee.

“We believe this is unacceptable. We are calling for governments and development organisations worldwide to keep their promise and to make sure the challenges facing LGBTQI people are accounted for in their responses to the SDGs. By doing this, we can help achieve our mission for every person to be accepted without exception,” Sulique Waqa said.

According to Sulique, not many LGBTQI people in the Pacific are aware of what the SDGs are and how it is relevant to their work.

“If unaware of the exact terms, they are anyway working on many of the development issues in the SDGs.”

“The Pacific Human Rights Conference is a good forum to raise awareness on the SDGs and how the LGBTQI people in the Pacific can utilise the “leave no one behind” principle to influence the national development priorities and also contribute to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda.”

The Pacific Human Rights Conference began on Monday this week. 130 delegates representing LGBTQI people in the Pacific and some Observer representatives from development agencies and civil society organisations are attending this Conference. The main objective of 2018 PHRC is to share analysis and strategies, further build social movements for change, and collectively develop a Roadmap to achieve SOGIE-SC/LGBTQI inclusion in the Pacific by 2030.

Noelene Nabulivou, Political Adviser of Diverse Voices and Action (DIVA) for Equality, a Fiji based feminist LBTI led collective added that all the Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are important and linked, and that for Pacific LGBTQI and gender non-conforming people, SDGs 1, 3, 5, 10, 12, 13, 14 and 17 are some that are particularly relevant and strategic for further work.

Ms Nabulivou emphasised SDG 5 which calls for an end to all discrimination and violence against women and girls. This therefore includes work to end lesbophobia, biphobia and transphobia.

She said, “Unlike the Millennium Development Goals, the SDGs have a specific focus to advance gender equality and human rights of all people, and ‘all means ALL’.

Pacific lesbians, bisexual, trans men, trans women, gender non-conforming people, intersex people experience multiple forms of human rights violations, stigma, discrimination and violence because of their intersecting sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, and sex characteristics (SOGIESC), and other individual and collective identities including being people from diverse Pacific Small Island States (PSIDS).

Pacific women and gender non-conforming people in general, including lesbians, transgender women and trans men face epidemic levels of sexual and gender based violence, and overall low presence in national decision-making bodies. Gender norms ensure they are taken far less seriously than men when reporting crimes to Governmental authorities, and they are taken even less seriously if they are identified as LBTI.

So many rights violations and crimes do not even get to reporting phases. There is much systematic State avoidance of their role as primary duty bearers of human rights, while UN, development agencies and civil society also compound injustice by inadequately addressing human rights of LGBTQI people in their programmes and initiatives, in some cases there is change, but inconsistent, uneven, and much too slow.

In addition, development programmes most often work with a narrow definition of ‘sexuality’ and ‘gender’ that does not take account of fuller SOGIESC issues, nor in ways that affirm and support local LGBTQI led social movements with the experience and knowledge to lead change. Much more needs to be done at local, national, regional and global levels to tackle harmful gender stereotypes that limit all people from being themselves and pursuing their goals.

Ms Nabulivou said there is a need for development justice that is LED by Pacific people and for ALL Pacific people.

“Truly sustainable, just and equitable development takes an intersectional approach, where people in all their diversity, including all LGBTQI and gender non-conforming people are involved in all aspects of decision-making on their lives,” she said.

She also added there must be interlinked approaches to sexual rights, gender justice, social, economic, ecological and climate justice. She said, “We must see how development impacts on diverse bodies; how it affects our ocean, land and resources; societies, institutions and services; and the climate and ecology. We must explicitly design and monitor development for universal human rights and justice outcomes. Only then we can be more assured that development is sustainable.”

The Conference also heard many ways to ensure LGBTQI and gender non-conforming people are not “Left Behind” in international development including:

- Collectively determine, affirm, resource and address self-stated needs of lesbian, bisexual, gay, transgender, intersex people and all gender non-conforming people, in all their diversity;

- Funding local LGBTQI and gender diverse groups and supporting them to address the needs of their communities;

- Empowering LGBTQI and gender non-conforming people to hold Governments, intergovernmental institutions, the United Nations, Corporations, development agencies, funders, faith based institutions, civil society and others to account;

- Highlight success stories where LGBTQI and gender non-conforming individuals and groups have been included in just and sustainable development and share good practices; and

- Always work with local LGBTQI and gender non-conforming people led groups in design, implementation and monitoring of all social, economic and environmental programmes and initiatives to make sure their needs are met and no harm is done.

The 2018 PHRC will end this Friday with an outcomes statement and a regional Roadmap to advance universal human rights, and SOGIESC/LGBTQI equitable, fair and sustainable development in the Pacific by 2030.

For more information please contact Pacific Sexual and Gender Diversity Network (PSGDN) Media, Communications and Advocacy Officer Ms Devika Narayan on email or mobile 9423836.


Sulique Waqa