United Nations urge countries to address discrimination against LGBT+ people in COVID-19 emergency measures

96 United Nations and international human rights experts have signed a landmark statement urging for LGBT+ visibility in COVID-19 emergency measures.

A stethoscope lying on a rainbow flag

The United Nations have called on governments worldwide to ensure COVID-19 emergency measures are not used against the LGBT+ community ahead of the International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBT).

On Sunday, May 17, the world will honour the annual IDAHOBT to raise awareness about ongoing discrimination experienced by the LGBT+ community and spark crucial discussions around representation. However, in the lead up to 2020’s event, there has been a surge in anti-LGBT+ rhetoric enforced through COVID-19 emergency measures. 

In certain countries, the queer community are being targeted and attacked under the authority of emergency powers. The Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, Víctor Madrigal-Borloz, said, “Lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans-and gender-diverse people, who are disproportionately represented in the ranks of the poor, the homeless, and those without healthcare, will be deeply impacted by the pandemic and, unless we take urgent action, this impact will be felt over generations.”

Due to the ongoing pandemic, new legislation bills are being drafted up which would deeply impact LGBT+ rights across the world. In places such as Hungary and Poland, these laws serve to isolate the queer community from one another. 

The Independent Expert highlighted, “Some States have enacted measures which intentionally target LGBT persons and communities under the guise of public health, including proposing legislation to deny trans- and gender-diverse persons of their legal recognition.”

In certain countries, the ongoing pandemic also resulted in health officials drastically reassessing blood donation restrictions placed upon GBT+ men. Throughout the lockdown, systematic discrimination has been pushed further into the public eye. Reflecting the theme of ‘Break the Silence’ for IDAHOBT 2020, the queer community continues speaking out against these injustices. 

As highlighted by the world’s biggest ever LGBT+ survey, there’s been a noticeable increase in queer people experiencing discrimination within the everyday since 2012. Following the report’s release, the UN issued a call for the visibility of the LGBT+ community in the actions of states implementing COVID-19 measures. 

In the statement, the United Nations and human rights experts acknowledged the resilience and suffering of the LGBT+ community. Member states and activists also voiced their support to take further action in protecting the rights of queer people during this difficult time.

Madrigal-Borloz expressed, “This historical statement, signed by 96 United Nations and international human rights experts, forcefully recognises that the struggle against the COVID-19 pandemic is not waged on a level playing field.”

© 2020 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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