UNESCO s approach and work to support education sector responses to homophobic and transphobic violence

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1 UNESCO s approach and work to support education sector responses to homophobic and transphobic violence Tackling homophobia and sexuality-related violence through education in low/middle income countries - Institute of Education, London, 22 January 2015 Christophe Cornu, Senior Programme Specialist and Team Leader Section of Health and Global Citizenship Education Education Sector

2 Outline for presentation 1. UNESCO s work: Rationale and approach 2. UNESCO s activities since Supporting education sector responses in low and middle income countries: Lessons learned

3 UNESCO s work: Rationale and approach

4 Homophobic and transphobic violence in educational institutions: a global problem Many students across the world are often victims of violence including bullying in educational institutions because they are perceived as not conforming with existing gender norms/stereotypes and/or because of their actual/perceived sexual orientation, in particular LGBT children and young people UNESCO

5 Rationale: homophobic and transphobic violence limits the right to education Homophobic and transphobic violence in educational institutions is a form of gender-based and sexual violence that acts as a barrier to fulfilling the right to education of many children and young people by limiting access to school for victims and encouraging absenteeism and school drop-out. It is therefore an obstacle to the principle of Education For All. It also undermines educational and learning opportunities and outcomes, and limits future employment opportunities. It violates the principle of safe schools.

6 Rationale: homophobic and transphobic violence limits the right to education «Homophobic bullying is an unacceptable infringement of basic human rights. In the school setting, homophobia is a direct violation of the right to quality education. It leads to absenteeism, poorer academic performance and achievement, and sometimes to suicide. The right to quality education is not the privilege of a few. It is a universal right. All students all of them have the right to quality education in a safe environment» Irina Bokova, Director General of UNESCO on the occasion of the Internal Day against homophobia and transphobia, (May 17, 2012)

7 UNESCO s two-prong approach IN EDUCATION: Protecting the basic human rights of LGBT children and young people who are victims of homophobic and transphobic violence including bullying in and around educational institutions

8 UNESCO s two-prong approach THROUGH EDUCATION: Promoting respect for all and changing minds of children and young people, teachers and other education personnel, and the whole community regarding people perceived as different, in this case people who are perceived as gender non-conforming

9 Our work on homophobic and transphobic violence in education: frameworks UNESCO s activities are implemented within our broader work in the following areas: Inclusive education / Education For All Prevention of discrimination in and through education: global citizenship education, human rights education Response to violence in schools in general including school-related gender based violence Gender equality

10 Our work on homophobic and transphobic violence in education: frameworks Comprehensive sexuality education: integration of issues related to sexual orientation, gender identity and sexual diversity in curricula, teacher training and teaching materials

11 United Nations framework This is also within the framework of United Nations commitments and activities in relation to the rights of LGBT people in general Homophobic bullying is a moral outrage, a grave violation of human rights and a public health crisis (2011) Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations

12 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child: position in relation to LGBT children All the rights enshrined in the Convention apply to any child without discrimination of any kind, irrespective of the child's or his or her parent's or legal guardian's race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national, ethnic or social origin, property, disability, birth or other status. Article 2, Par. 1 These grounds also cover adolescents sexual orientation. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, General comment No.4, Par 6 (2003)

13 Articles of the Convention used by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child Article 2: The right to nondiscrimination Article 19: The right to be protected against any form of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse Article 24: The right of the child to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health

14 Supporting education sector responses: UNESCO s activities since 2011

15 UNESCO s work on homophobic and transphobic violence since 2011 First United Nations consultation on homophobic bullying in educational institutions organized by UNESCO in December 2011 Documentation of good policy and practice to prevent and address homophobic bullying from all other the world including Europe compiled in UNESCO publication launched in 2012

16 Objectives of the publication Review available evidence on the nature and extent of homophobic bullying in educational institutions Identify and share examples of best practice in terms of policy frameworks, interventions and practical tools to prevent and address homophobic bullying in educational institutions that currently exist and are used in different regions in the world Now available in 9 languages

17 UNESCO s work on homophobic and transphobic violence since 2011 In collaboration with the IDAHO Committee, UNESCO developed in 2012 a Lesson Plan for teachers to deal with homophobia and transphobia in the classroom in a way that can be adapted to any cultural context

18 Global initiative launched in 2013: Education and Respect for All Strengthen international policy engagement Support regional mobilization and leadership Generate evidence and document best practice Improve national education sector responses in selected countries

19 Generating evidence in regions where there is little or no data

20 Southern Africa: Pioneering action research to generate first evidence in the region Multi-country study on gender, diversity and violence in schools in 5 countries: Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland The first ever study on this kind in the region (except for South Africa) as context is relatively hostile Using a culturally-sensitive approach: School-related violence, and school-related gender-based violence as entry point No sensitive terminology: no mention of homosexuality, LGBT. Researchers use and different/perceived as different in terms of gender as agreed terminology

21 Multi-country study in Southern Africa: a participatory process Process designed to engage with Ministries of Education and other national stakeholders, ensure support and ownership of findings Consultative process in all countries to discuss all aspects of the study Involvement of national researchers Research as a way to raise awareness and mobilize stakeholders in the education sector National consultative meetings held in all 5 countries. Except for Botswana (pilot) very positive reactions from Ministries of Education including Senior officials

22 Study in Southern Africa: qualitative and quantitative methods & a large sample size Implemented by GALA, based in South Africa, and co-funded by Hivos Respondents: students, teachers, school principals and other education personnel, parents, government officials, social workers, NGOs Expected sample size: over students and 900 teachers. In total over respondents in 4 countries

23 What new evidence for Southern Africa? What do we want to know? Existing education sector policies related to violence in schools, including school-related gender based violence and aspects of sexual and gender diversity What forms does violence take? Who are the victims and the perpetrators? Where does it take place? What is the impact on students? On schools? How does the education sector respond to violence?

24 Generating evidence in Asia (1) Thailand: Study on homophobic and transphobic bullying targeting secondary school students (in collaboration with Plan International) Research findings will be used to provide in-service training for secondary education teachers on issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity into the national manual on sexuality, HIV, gender and human rights

25 Generating evidence in Asia (2) Viet Nam: Launch of a national survey on school-related genderbased violence focusing on bullying on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. yes this research is new and sensitive, but if we don t touch on these issues it will be new forever (Ministry of Education staff, Viet Nam)

26 Mobilizing stakeholders and building regional coalitions

27 Regional meetings on homophobic and transphobic violence in educational institutions Latin America and the Caribbean (Colombia, October 2014): For the first time in the region senior officials from Ministries of Education and NGO representatives from 9 countries met to discuss that topic Asia-Pacific (Thailand, planned in June 2015): 9 countries expected to participate

28 Regional meetings and reports: objectives Review available evidence on homophobic/transphobic violence in educational institutions at regional level and identify gaps in data Analyze best approaches used so far and potential entry points to prevent and address homophobic/transphobic violence violence in and through education from a regional perspective

29 Regional meetings and reports: objectives Document and share best policy and practice in the region that could be easily adapted in other countries in the region Facilitate collaboration between Ministries of Education, other governmental bodies and civil society organizations including LGBT groups at national and regional levels

30 Regional meetings and reports: expected outcomes Increased awareness, mobilization, commitment and action by governments in collaboration with civil society Foster regional initiatives and projects, e.g. informal networks at governmental level Ownership of the problem and the solutions = it is not something that only happens in the North Sergio Urrego (Colombia) he committed suicide in August 2014, he was 16

31 Raising awareness in the education community

32 The School Rainbow campaign in Bangkok, Thailand Raising awareness in Asia

33 UNESCO programme Plans until 2016

34 Global report on the status of homophobic and transphobic violence in educational institutions Prevalence of homophobic and transphobic violence in educational institutions Education sector responses to homophobic and transphobic violence: Policies Curricula and extra-curricular activities Education personnel training &support Support for students and families Partnerships and coalitions Recommendations on systematic monitoring of homophobic and transphobic violence (indicators) ; and improvement in education sector responses

35 Collecting data on national education sector responses

36 Collecting data on national education sector responses

37 Paris high-level meeting of Ministers of education - May 2016 High-level meeting of Ministers of education in 2016 at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, with the following expected results: The first issue of a global report will be presented Ministers of education will show their commitment by supporting a policy statement that will serve as a reference at global level

38 Supporting education sector responses in low and middle income countries: lessons learned

39 Lessons learned: entry points International best practice BUT different entry points to approach homophobic violence in the education sector depending on the context: Entry points/approaches need to be adapted to the sociocultural and legal context in order to prevent negative reactions Terminology is very important and should be acceptable to government and the community in general Some entry points can be used in many contexts, regardless of the legal status of homosexuality and social stigma (e.g. Africa): right to education for all in a safe learning environment; and prevention of gender-based violence against all learners including those who do not conform with gender norms.

40 Lessons learned: entry points and the need for evidence Other entry points are specific to settings where individual human rights are acknowledged and protected, and particularly countries where LGBT rights are promoted and protected Respect for all, inclusion and non discrimination Respect for sexual and gender diversity/sexual minorities In those countries there is no link between homophobic violence and SRGBV (Latin America). It is necessary to present national stakeholders with evidence: nature, scope, educational and health consequences of the problem. In contexts where there is little or no data, research can be used as a process to mobilize stakeholders.

41 Lessons learned: policies, curricula, teacher training Important to engage with and involve national stakeholders including ministries of education and other ministries at a very early stage (when activities are supported and/or driven by international organization or bilateral donor). An effective (cost-effective) approach to support education sector responses to homophobic/transphobic violence is to use existing policy frameworks and instruments, e.g. policies on violence or bullying in schools. For inclusion in curricula and teacher training it seems that the most used topics are sexuality education and civics/human rights education.

42 Lessons learned: from policies to practice Countries with a LGBT rights-friendly environment are more likely to have explicit policies on how to prevent and address homophobic and transphobic violence in education (Argentina, South Africa, Thailand, Uruguay). However in some countries policies do not translate into practice (South Africa) and have little impact.

43 Lessons learned: monitoring and evaluation Beyond data generated by ad-hoc research/studies complete lack of data on homophobic and transphobic violence generated routinely by the education sector itself or by other monitoring mechanisms outside the education sector e.g. no indicators in EMIS and PBS In many countries the same applies to SRGBV in general. In low-income countries this would be more cost effective and sustainable than ad-hoc studies conducted on a small scale. Need to identify a very limited number of indicators.

44 THANK YOU

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