A joint statement, signed by a coalition of 187 global organisations regarding the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on LGBTQ+ persons’ human rights, has been submitted to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in advance of its 44th session on June 22, 2020.
Drafted by ILGA World, the International Service for Human Rights (ISHR), COC, OutRight Action International, the Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex Rights (RFSL), GATE and ARC International, the statement addresses several issues, including:
- The right to health;
- The rise of stigma and discrimination and scapegoating of LGBTI persons;
- Access to housing, water and sanitation;
- The right to work and impacts on livelihood; and
- Civic space restrictions.
While acknowledging that actions to combat the Covid-19 pandemic are urgent and necessary, signatories of the statement urge UN Member States and stakeholders to ensure that international human rights obligations are complied with, and specific vulnerabilities of LGBTQ+ persons are taken into account, during the implication of such emergency response measures.
- Ensure accessibility of healthcare and services to every person, including sexual and reproductive health, without discrimination of any kind;
- Comply with international human rights laws and standards when implementing emergency measures, following requirements of legality, necessity, proportionality and non-discrimination, including on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity and expression and sex characteristics (SOGIESC);
- Guarantee that shelters are inclusive for all persons regardless of their SOGIESC and implement measures allowing LGBTQ+ persons to report violence and discrimination suffered in a private context, including at homes and shelters;
- Ensure that emergency measures to address the socio-economic impacts of the pandemic, as well as recovery plans, are inclusive to LGBTQ+ persons – especially to trans, older and homeless LGBTQ+ persons;
- Ensure access to national, regional and international systems of accountability. States and stakeholders should implement lines of action designed to sustain and ensure the continuity of the engagement of civil society and human rights defenders in UN bodies and mechanisms.
In its conclusion, the statement urges authorities ‘to ensure that this public health emergency will neither exacerbate existing misconceptions, prejudices, inequalities or structural barriers, nor lead to increased violence and discrimination against persons with diverse sexual orientation, gender identity and expression and sex characteristics.’
To download the full statement here: