The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) announced that its office in Region XII is now conducting an investigation on the report that LGBTQIA individuals in Ampatuan, Maguindanao were forced to have their heads shaved because of their sexual orientation, gender identity and expression (SOGIE).
In a statement from CHR spokesperson Atty. Jacqueline Ann de Guia, the commission stated that it found the incident “deeply concerning”.
“CHR continues to stress that no person should ever suffer discrimination and harm on the basis of one’s affiliation or creed, or because of one’s sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, or sex characteristics (SOGIESC). All persons are free and equal in dignity and rights. LGBTQI rights are human rights,” de Guia stated.
Earlier, members of the LGBTQIA community in Ampatuan, Maguindanao in Mindanao were shaved in public; with the occurrence then posted in Facebook via Bandera News TV-Cotabato/Radyo Bandera Cotabato. When reported, the reasoning given behind the barbaric act was Islam’s supposedly anti-LGBTQIA stance.
For CHR, “not even a religious belief can justify a human rights violation. Religious freedom, while it includes the absolute right to believe in a dogma, cannot transgress on the rights of others nor be used to justify harm and violence. This is especially so when current laws, such as the Safe Spaces Act, uphold the right of all persons from harassment, including protection from remarks and slurs that betray hatred and fear of members of the LGBTQI community.”
CHR added that “it further bears noting that ending the stigma, discrimination, and violence faced by the LGBTQI community should be a concern of all. The LGBTQI community is very much part of our society and they deserve equal right to safety and security in private and public spaces. The right to dignity includes the right of every person to be able to live their truths as to their identity; to be able to express; to be recognized; and to be respected as humans with rights.”