UNHR-TL and UNTL conducted a seminar to avoid discrimination against LGBTIQ in the School environment

UNHR-TL and UNTL conducted a seminar to avoid discrimination against LGBTIQ in the School environment

Photo Tatoli/Jose de Sa

DILI, july 13, 2023 (TATOLI) – The United Nations Human Rights Adviser’s Unit in Timor-Leste (UNHR-TL) and the National University of Timor-Leste (UNTL) conducted a seminar focused on raising awareness of the rights of LGBTIQ students in Timor-Leste.

UN National Human Rights Officer, Amelia de Araújo said the main purpose of today’s event is to share the prevention of stigma and discrimination against Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) and aimed to increase UNTL’s student awareness of human rights issues to protect and avoid various forms of discrimination in the school environment.

“We want to share a key finding report on discrimination and access to education of LGBTIQ in formal education in senior high school and University,’ The UN National Human Rights Officer, Amelia De Araújo told TATOLI media at the Ian Martin, INFORDEPE meeting room, Matadouru, this thursday.

She added that the result of pilot research found that there are various forms of discrimination, stigma, bad treatment, insult, and violence against LGBTIQ students when they go to school. They will feel the negative impact and decide to drop out of school.

“We want to encourage you that you have the power to do the right thing in your life. The United Nations continues to support you in providing advocacy to respect and protect your rights and dignity,’ she said.

The UN would like to share the findings of the report with all universities across the Timor-Leste territory to share this issue with the school principals, teachers, and students to support LGBTIQ students who are going to university.

It is expected that in this seminary, Students will be able to gain awareness to avoid discrimination and stigma against the LGBTIQ community in Timor-Leste.

“We want each university to appoint a student representative to become a focal point to receive complaints from LGBTIQ students when they face any discrimination, and the University will take responsibility to protect them,’’ She said.

Vice Dean for Student Affairs of the Faculty of Social Science at UNTL, Mateus Tilman, said the LGBTIQ community lives different lifestyles. Therefore, it is required for everyone to respect and support them in accessing education.

“We have to protect all social actions, including the LGBTIQ community. They have the same right to access the same opportunities, such as education, and also interact in society,’’ He said.

He went on to say that LGBTIQ people have different lifestyle and social habits. They have the right to be protected by regulations to ensure they can freely go to school.

Based on the UN, the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights (OHCHR) and Human Rights Adviser’s Unit report said that about 35% of high school students interviewed and 14% of university students reported that they believe their schools have policies against bullying, harassment, or assault, and 13% of university students reported that their school had a comprehensive policy that specifically enumerates both sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. This research was carried out in 2022 in three municipalities, such as Dili, Liquica, and Maliana. The seminar was attended by more than 200 UNTL students from the Social Science Faculty.

Journalist: José Belarmino De Sá

Editor: Nelia B.


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