TPP Fails to Address Human Rights Issues as LGBT Rights Regress in Malaysia

For Immediate Release: October 9, 2015

Contact: Jerame Davis,, 202-637-5014

TPP Fails to Address Human Rights Issues as LGBT Rights Regress in Malaysia

Washington – The following is a statement from Pride at Work Executive Director Jerame Davis reacting to news of Malaysia’s continued oppression of LGBT people:

“We continue to receive platitudes and pinky swears that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will expand human rights in the Asian-Pacific region, but nothing we’ve seen has indicated this is true. Today we learned that Malaysia’s high court overturned a ruling by a lower court that invalidated a law against cross dressing. The case was brought by three transgender women who are fighting to simply be themselves.

In February, the Malaysian Federal Court upheld the conviction of the former Deputy Prime Minister under that country’s anti-sodomy law as well. It is quite clear that LGBT rights are not advancing, but regressing even further, in Malaysia.

The Administration has repeatedly claimed that the TPP will give them the ability to address these concerns in Malaysia, as well as countries like Brunei, where a conviction of “homosexual acts” could get you a sentence of death by stoning once that country fully implements its new penal code. Yet nothing we are aware of in the TPP addresses these issues directly and the Administration has yet to detail how they will end human rights abuses in these countries nor why it’s appropriate to give preferential access to these countries before they take measures advance human rights.

Pride at Work calls on Congress to vote down the Trans-Pacific Partnership when it comes up for debate. As a country, we must re-evaluate our priorities on trade to ensure that no trade deals ever again compromise basic human rights.”


Pride At Work is a nonprofit organization and an officially recognized constituency group of the AFL-CIO (American Federation of Labor & Congress of Industrial Organizations.) We organize mutual support between the organized Labor Movement and the LGBT Community for social and economic justice. In addition to national Pride at Work, more than 20 Chapters organize at the state and local level around the country.