Are we progressing from insult to inclusion? Expert consultation on education sector responses to violence on basis of SOGIE

Are we progressing from insult to inclusion? Expert consultation on education sector responses to violence on basis of SOGIE

Governments across the Asia-Pacific region have signed on to a range of international agreements to protect and uphold the rights of all children and young people to a safe and quality education.

For millions of learners in Asia-Pacific, the reality on the ground does not reflect those commitments – particularly for those with diverse sexualities and sex characteristics, or who do not conform to the gender roles that society has defined for them. For these learners, the promise of “inclusive and equitable quality education” captured in Sustainable Development Goal 4 remains elusive. 

A UNESCO-led regional consultation addressed these issues by bringing together experts from around the region to review education sector responses to these issues as well as identify priority actions for follow-up at the national and regional levels.

A diverse group of education stakeholders – from ministry officials to human rights NGOs and teacher training institutes – met for “From Insult to Inclusion: Regional Consultation on Education Sector Responses to School Violence on the Basis of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression (SOGIE)", from 6-7 November in Manila.

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Representatives from Cambodia, Fiji, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Philippines, Thailand, Timor-Leste, and Viet Nam will highlight gaps and good practices in country-level data, policy frameworks and education-sector responses to address these issues as well as identify strategic opportunities for collaboration.

The Philippines was selected as host country because of the strides it has made addressing some of the issues at the heart of the consultation. The country has, for example, passed its Anti-Bullying Act of 2013, and anti-SOGI Discrimination Act/ SOGI Equality Act.

It is also one of only four countries in Asia-Pacific (along with Australia, Fiji and Japan) to affirm UNESCO’s Call of Action by Ministers on ‘Inclusive and equitable education for all learners in an environment free from discrimination and violence’. The call has been endorsed by Ministers from 56 countries; with the lack of

This Regional Consultation builds on the efforts of UNESCO’s Asia-Pacific Regional Bureau of Education to highlight and galvanize action around the challenges facing young learners, including the 2015 publication, “Insult to Inclusion”, the first Asia-Pacific regional review of bullying on the basis of SOGIE.

The importance of protecting learners from violence and discrimination on the basis of SOGIE was stressed in a recent note by UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, “UN Report of the Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity."

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A highlight of the Regional Consultation was an exhibition of powerful images advocating for inclusion and quality in classrooms. Visual communications students from the University of the Philippines Diliman contributed posters for the exhibition. Full album here

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UNESCO Bangkok also collected the thoughts of some of the participants of the consultation on the impact of school violence based on SOGIE and what education sectors need to do to address this challenge. Delegates' voices - full album here. 


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