Asia: Strategic litigation an effective tool to protect the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer persons

ILGA Asia and the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) organized a webinar on the use of strategic litigation to protect and promote the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) persons in Asia in Bangkok on 28 October 2022.

Throughout the Asia region, LGBTIQ persons are denied equality before the law and equal protection of the law. This has prompted strategic litigation to defend and advance the human rights of LGBTIQ persons, especially in countries like India, Malaysia, Singapore and Sri Lanka. At the same time, LGBTIQ activists and allies are advocating for greater access to justice and for the right to an effective remedy for human rights violations and abuses to ensure the full participation and inclusion of LGBTIQ people across society.

“Strategic litigation, especially when it’s community-led and grounded in evidence-based research, can be quite transformative for securing access to justice for LGBTIQ persons in Asia. Efforts to expand existing laws to make them LGBTIQ-inclusive, and to bring anti-LGBTIQ laws, policies and practices to court have been a critical aspect of strategic litigation in Asia. We continue to support and amplify the work of activists and legal practitioners in Asia working to ensure full access to justice for LGBTIQ individuals,” said Ajita Banerjie, Research & Policy Officer at ILGA Asia.

Titled “Strategic Litigation for Safeguarding and Advancing the Human Rights of LGBTIQ Persons in Asia”, the panel included leading lawyers, activists and civil society leaders from South and Southeast Asia who shared their experiences of fighting for the human rights of LGBTIQ people through strategic litigation and interventions and promoting access to justice in Asia.

The panelists were:

  • Aritha Wickramasinghe, Equality Director, iProbono;
  • Thilaga Sulathireh, Co-Founder, Justice for Sisters;
  • Jayna Kothari, Executive Director, Centre for Law & Policy Research;
  • Dr Akkai Padmashali, Founder, Ondede; and
  • Suang Wijaya, Partner, Eugene Thuraisingam LLP.

“Strategic litigation has played a pivotal and effective role in challenging the laws, policies and practices that entrench and reproduce systemic and structural discrimination against LGBTQI persons in Asia. These include the criminalization and pathologization of diverse sexual and gender identities, and the arbitrary restrictions placed on the right to freedom of expression and information of LGBTQI persons, among others,” said Daron Tan, ICJ Associate International Legal Adviser.

The webinar was the first ever convening of lawyers and activists from the region to share strategies, best practices and discuss challenges involved in conducting strategic litigation and interventions to defend the human rights of LGBTQI people in Asia.

A recording of the webinar is accessible here:


Ajita Banerjie, Research & Policy Officer, ILGA Asia,

Daron Tan, Associate International Legal Adviser, International Commission of Jurists,

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