The COVID pandemic has exposed and deepened existing discrimination, violence and other violations, exacerbatting systems of oppression. LGBTI communities, among other marginalised communities, are suffering disproportionate impacts.
'Not only have there been increased threats and attacks against LGBTI rights defenders- including domestic violence, physical attacks and killings, increased online harassment, stigmatisation and defamation- Governments have used the pandemic as a means to restrict civil society and fundamental rights. Beyond this, affected communities have been excluded from pandemic responses,' said ISHR's Tess McEvoy.
While we welcome the High Commissioner's recognition of the impact of the pandemic on LGBTI communities, we call on her office to maintain this focus. Action to address the pandemic must be comprehensive and systemic. 'Responses must apply a human rights-based, and intersectional lens, centred on non-discrimination, participation and empowerment of vulnerable communities,' added McEvoy. National and international responses must be developed in consultation with civil society, including LGBTI persons and defenders, with issues related to SOGIESC considered in planning and implementing social and economic measures taken.
Madam President, Madam High Commissioner,
This is a joint statement.
We welcome the report on COVID19 presented by the High Commissioner and specifically the recognition of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex persons as one of the groups suffering disproportionate impacts from the ongoing global pandemic, as well as the social and economic crisis resulting from it1 . We also appreciate previous efforts taken by your Office, such as the information note on LGBTI persons in the context of COVID19.
Over the last year our communities have been scapegoated by different actors, including religious leaders, for the covid outbreak. This has resulted in a sharp rise in hatred, discrimination and violence. The pandemic has aggravated violations of our right to health (including mental health), right to work, right to food and access to adequate housing, secure employment, and to public participation2 . We have been excluded from participating in pandemic responses, civic space for those who defend our rights has been restricted and attacks against human rights defenders have increased.
The pandemic has exposed and deepened existing discrimination, violence and other violations. It has exacerbated systems of oppression. There have been increased threats and attacks against women human rights defenders and LGBTI rights defenders including domestic violence, physical attacks and killings, increased online harassment, stigmatisation and defamation.
Action to address the pandemic must be comprehensive and systemic, applying a human rights-based, and intersectional lens, centred on non-discrimination, participation and empowerment of vulnerable communities, who have faced heightened impact. It is fundamental that national and international responses are developed in consultation with civil society, including LGBTI persons and those defending their rights. It is integral that SOGIESC is considered in planning and implementing social and economic measures taken. There is an urgent need to resolve delays and disruptions in health care access for people living with HIV, and trans and intersex people.
The specific vulnerabilities of our communities should be taken into consideration in developing vaccination plans, ensuring equitable and non-discriminatory access.
Madam High Commissioner, we ask you to continue a strong focus on the impact of the COVID19 on marginalized communities and urge you and member states to share best practices on LGBTI-inclusive responses to the crisis.
Thank you, Madam President.