Inter-Asia conference on disability, sexual orientation and gender identity
More than 30 representatives from Asian NGOs working on disability and SOGI issues are participating in the conference organised by NCHR, the Research Center for Ars Vivendi (RCAV) of Ritsumeikan University in Japan and the East Lake Institute at Wuhan University in China.
The conference held in Kyoto, Japan brings together NGO representatives from Japan, the Philippines, Nepal, China, Taiwan, Myanmar, Mongolia, India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, and Cambodia. (Photo: UiO).
The conference seeks to strengthen the capacity of civil society organisations across Asia and to facilitate inter-Asia exchange on disability and SOGI equality issues.
Since disability, gender, sexual orientation and gender identity are not necessarily mutually exclusive in real life it is important to discuss intersectionality, says Elisabeth Bjørnstøl, Head of Equality and non-discrimination at the NCHR International department.
Empowering civil society
Many Asian NGOs have been interested in learning more about the intersectionality of discrimination in order to empower the interest groups they represent in a more comprehensive way. The atmosphere at the conference is one of hope and determination, says Bjørnstøl:
It is shocking to learn how many people with disabilities are experiencing discrimination, marginalisation, violence and abuse especially when you take gender and SOGI issues into consideration as well. These organisations are doing a fantastic job of mapping, advising, empowering, helping and changing the lives of people with disabilities all over Asia.
Discussing SOGI and disability for the first time
For many participants it is the first time they have the opportunity to discuss these issues with NGOs from other Asian countries and they are exchanging practices and strategies for developing anti-ableist and inclusive LGBTIQ and disability movements.
This conference is part of a long-term NCHR focus on disability in relation to gender equality, sexual orientation and gender identity in Asia.