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IBAHRI signs joint statement on the impact of Covid-19 on LGBTI persons' human rights

Thursday 18 June 2020

Download the statement Descargar la declaración

The International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) has joined a coalition of 187 global organisations in signing a joint statement regarding the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) persons’ human rights. 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 was submitted to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in advance of its 44th session on 22 June 2020.

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 LGBTI persons are taken into account, during the implication of such emergency response measures.

Five key recommendations to States and stakeholders are included in the statement, including:

  • ensure accessibility of health care 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 LGBTI 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 LGBTI persons - especially to trans, older and homeless LGBTI persons; and
  • 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.’

The full statement is available to read online in English or Spanish

ENDS

Notes to the Editor

  1. Download a PDF of the joint statement in English.
    www.ibanet.org/MediaHandler?id=3adf3447-8229-4219-a096-710081feb8cc
  2. Download a PDF of the joint statement in Spanish.
    www.ibanet.org/MediaHandler?id=0bfecaaf-4d69-47b2-94b4-ac0f99607923
  3. In May 2010, the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) passed the Resolution on Sexual Orientation and Human Rights. The Resolution recognises that discrimination against anybody on the grounds of their sexual orientation and gender identity is contrary to fundamental principles of human rights. As a result of this recognition, the IBAHRI is committed to the repeal of criminal laws imposing penalties against people in respect of consensual, adult, private sexual conduct. www.ibanet.org/Human_Rights_Institute/About_the_HRI/HRI_Activities/sexual-orientation
  4. The International Bar Association (IBA), the global voice of the legal profession, is the foremost organisation for international legal practitioners, bar associations and law societies. Established in 1947, shortly after the creation of the United Nations, it was born out of the conviction that an organisation made up of the world's bar associations could contribute to global stability and peace through the administration of justice.The IBAHRI, an autonomous and financially independent entity, works to promote, protect and enforce human rights under a just rule of law, and to preserve the independence of the judiciary and the legal profession worldwide.

For further information please contact:

Romana St. Matthew - Daniel
Press Office
International Bar Association
4th Floor, 10 St Bride Street,
London EC4A 4AD

Mobile: +44 (0)7940 731 915
Direct Line: +44 (0)20 7842 0094
Main Office: +44 (0)20 7842 0090
Fax: +44 (0)20 7842 0091

Email: romana.daniel@int-bar.org
Website: www.ibanet.org

IBA website page link for this news release:
Short link: tinyurl.com/ybdkmwhd

Direct download to an ENGLISH PDF of the joint statement: Short link: tinyurl.com/yd38r3jn

Direct download to an SPANISH PDF of the joint statement: Short link: tinyurl.com/y9z2cpp5