First International Meeting on Human Rights and Gender Identity in BoliviaPublished on Tuesday, 08 October 2013 15:44
On 7 and 8 October 2013 the First International Meeting on Human Rights and Gender Identity was convened in Cochabamba, Bolivia with the participation of 60 parliamentarians, government authorities from the local and national level, international donors and diplomats, as well as civil society representatives including transgender people. This event, which aimed at promoting the respect and recognition of the right to gender identity as a human right for transgender people, was organized by MTN (Mesa de Trabajo Nacional) in partnership with Red TREBOL (Red de Mujeres Trans in Bolivia) with the support of amfAR, UNFPA, UNDP and UNAIDS.
This event marked an historic milestone in the political recognition, visibility and sensitization of the human rights of transgender people in Bolivia. The focus of this meeting was on the importance of the adoption of a gender identity law in Bolivia as a way to sanction the exercise of the fundamental human rights of transgender people. Based on the exchange of best practices in the region, this event showcased the experience of Argentina which adopted its Gender Identity Law in 2012 and Uruguay whose Gender Identity Law was adopted in 2009, enabling transgender people of those countries to change their name and sex details.
Progress made in Bolivia was noted at the meeting through the recognition of gender identity in the new 2009 Constitution of Bolivia, which prohibits all forms of discrimination on those grounds. However, participants noted the legal gap in the recognition of transgender rights to allow them to fully participate in all areas of society. This could be addressed by the adoption of a gender identity law and re-establishment of the rightful place of transgender people within society. As presented by the President of the Human Rights Commission, Honorable Ever Moya, the recent law adopted in Bolivia (ley 045 ‘Contra el Racismo y Toda Forma de Discrimination’) against racism and all forms of discrimination introduces for the first time in Bolivian legislation the definition of homophobia and transphobia as acts of discrimination. He informed about the critical human rights situation of transgender people in Bolivia by providing the example of the registered cases received since the creation of the National Committee against Racism and all Forms of Discrimination. He explained that 468 complaints of discrimination were reported during the past 3 years, with 103 cases being registered. Of the cases registered, 22.3% are cases of discrimination towards the LGBT community which points to the high vulnerability of transgender people in the respect of their human rights.
The meeting ended with the adoption of recommendations, such as the importance to continue the work of political information and sensitization with regards to the human rights of transgender people which could be strengthened by a more protective legal framework. For more information, see the meeting report here.