Norwegian Embassy Promotes Human Rights for Transgender and Homosexual Street Children

The Norwegian Embassy together with Save the Children International and the institute of Studies of Society, Economy and Environment (iSEE) hosted a workshop on May 31 to discuss relevant policies and initiatives to protect the rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Street Children.

Researchers from iSEE and Save the Children in Vietnam recently conducted researches from in-depth interviews with the children, their families and peers for a study “The Situation Assessment of LGBT Street Children in Ho Chi Minh City”.

Based on the study, street children who have been identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered are certainly among the most vulnerable social groups in Vietnam.  They face risks of sexual exploitation, HIV/AIDS, physical violence, food shortage and drug usage like many other street children.  But on top of that, their sexual orientation and sexual identity make them face many forms of discrimination.

Most of these LGBT street children have been abused and discriminated by families and other students at schools. Many left their families and schools to face harder life on the street.

The fruitful workshop held on May 31 gathered government representatives and policy makers, civil society organizations, donors and the UN family in Vietnam to discuss ways forward in promoting and protecting their rights.

“Many think that this is a sensitive issue. For me, the topic is very straightforward: it is about securing basic human rights for some of the most marginalized groups in society,” said Mr. Ståle T. Risa, the Norwegian Ambassador in Vietnam, during his opening speech of the workshop.

The message from one of the street children presented in the workshop was very clear: Please do not discriminate against us, we want to be recognized and respected for who we are.

Even though there still are gaps in policy formation and implementation of children’s rights when it comes to LGBT street children in Vietnam, this workshop, with a large number of participants and many engaging contributions, showed that this group of marginalized and vulnerable children is increasingly getting more attention in Vietnam.

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