Mongolia LGBT Dialogue Report Launch

Oct 22, 2014

Welcome Remarks - Mongolia LGBT Dialogue Report Launch

22 October 2014

Sezin Sinanoglu, UNDP Resident Representative

  • Your Excellency, Minister of Culture, Sport and Tourism, Ms. Oyungerel
  • Excellency Ms. Campbell, Ambassador of the United States of America
  • Members of the LGBT Community
  • Colleagues from USAID
  • All other Partners, Friends
  • Ladies and Gentlemen

On behalf of the United Nations Development Programme, I very warmly welcome you to the launch of the “Being LGBT in Asia” Mongolia Country Report!

We started a journey together almost exactly 8 months ago, in March this year. We started a national dialogue on what it means to be Lesbian Gay Bisexual or Transgender in Mongolia. Today we are touching base, meeting again as a committed and proactive group in support of LGBT rights to review what we have achieved over the last 8 months and most importantly to launch our joint product, the Mongolia Country Report of the “Being LGBT in Asia” initiative.

The Report is an analysis of challenges that the LGBT face in Mongolia. It is equally a record of the voices of the LGBT people themselves. What they experience on a daily basis, how they feel, what they think needs to be done, what everyone agrees has to be done.

It is a document that helps us understand the problems. It is equally a report that provides clear points of action to address those problems, recommendations to eliminate discrimination, help protect and uphold the rights of the LGBT.

I started out by saying “touching base” because I truly hope that our journey that started in March does not end here and that we will continue together to fight discrimination and promote equal rights, respect and dignity to the LGBT people. And that together we will find ways to address the issues highlighted in the Report.

At the same time, I realize that this is societal change and things don’t happen overnight – we need to be strategic, we need to have clear goals and we need to be able to count on everyone’s continued commitment to the cause – everyone: not just the LGBT community but also the Government, the Parliament, the Human Rights Commission, international partners and the wider civil society.

On behalf of the United Nations, I can assure you of our commitment to fight discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.  Human beings cannot benefit from development progress if their lives are defined by inequity, exclusion, and policies which treat them as less than equal. Just like anyone else, LGBT people need to be given the opportunities to participate in and benefit fully from development.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like to thank everyone who was involved in the preparation of the Report. First and foremost, I would like to thank the LGBT community for so strongly embracing this initiative, providing key information, ideas and energy. I would also like to congratulate them for coming together as a real community and standing up for their rights together. I just recently participated in the second Pride Week that they organized and was truly impressed with the many things that they are doing: all very thoughtful and very substantive.  

I would like to thank also our partners: the US Embassy and USAID. It’s the first real partnership in development that I have had in Mongolia with the US Government and I am very happy with the results of our collaboration.

An interesting element of this collaboration is that it happened both at the country level and regionally. With this I would like say hello to our regional colleagues from USAID and UNDP who are here today and those like Saurav who have supported us throughout. Thank you for the regional initiative. More so: thank you for including Mongolia and for providing so much support!

And now a special thank you to a group of colleagues in the UN: Magnaisuren, Agi, Barkhas and Evelyn – who were the ones who really put the document together. It was very challenging. I saw it first-hand. In an environment where there was very little research and information to go by, it was very difficult to pull together a credible and useful document. I believe they did an excellent job! Thank you Team! And thank you to all of those who were there to contribute and support throughout: Thomas, Davaa and Saikhnaa – I really appreciate your work!

And finally, a big thank you to our other partners from the government, from Human Rights Commission, the youth organizations and others. I am especially encouraged and grateful to the very strong support and ownership that we have received from Ms Oyungerel. Thank you for coming today and showing your very strong solidarity.  

I look forward to continuing our good work with all of you and wish you a successful launch. 

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