Today, HRC congratulated transgender advocates and allies in Pakistan for their historic victory in achieving nationwide non-discrimination protections for transgender people. After being passed by the National Assembly and the Senate, the “Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2018” went into effect this past weekend with the assent of the acting President of Pakistan. The historic measure provides comprehensive protections for transgender people across several important aspects of life, including employment, education, healthcare, housing, public transportation, and a host of other areas.
“This is a truly historic moment as Pakistan joins the ranks of a growing number of countries with non-discrimination laws that protect the transgender community,” said Ty Cobb, director of HRC’s global program. “These are explicit, nationwide protections that we have yet to achieve here in the United States. Transgender people around the globe face high levels of discrimination, stigma, and violence, and Pakistan has now taken a historic step in addressing this heartbreaking tragedy. We congratulate the transgender advocates and allies in Pakistan who achieved this major victory through hard work, dedication, and undying commitment to fighting for a more fair and just world.”
“This is a victory for the entire transgender community in Pakistan,” said Jannat Ali, an HRC Global Innovator and transgender activist and artist in Pakistan. “I am proud to have played a part in researching, drafting, and advocating for this crucial legislation. We must now work to ensure consistent implementation and enforcement of this legislation now that it is the law of the land.”
“The law signals a recognition on the part of the Government of Pakistan that transgender persons are our sisters, brothers, friends, and that they have to be treated like every other Pakistani,” said Dr. Qasim Iqbal, Executive Director of NAZ, Pakistan’s leading organization working for the health and human rights of sexual and gender minorities. “The law, which is a result of the hard work, sweat, tears and blood of trans activists at NAZ and from across the country, makes Pakistan one of the most progressive countries in the world in terms of transgender rights.”
Despite tremendous challenges and violence, the world continues to see inexorable progress towards greater inclusion for transgender people, including in other South Asian countries such as Bangladesh, India and Nepal. According to ILGA’s Trans Legal Mapping Report, positive movement on trans issues occurred in every region of the world last year. The national assembly in Vietnam and the government in New Zealand introduced new legal protections and recognition for trans people. Botswana’s high court, Ecuador’s constitutional court, the European Court of Human Rights, and the Supreme Court of Nepal issued rulings recognizing the rights of trans people.