The global pandemic Covid-19 threatens the life and health of the world population. The measures that have been taken to face it in different States require that they are necessarily non-discriminatory and do not result in human rights violations, especially among the most vulnerable populations, within which is the LGBTIQA + community, and must be addressed as a priority.
In the case of the LGBTIQA + community, of all ages, it requires special attention since the impact of these measures is differentiated due to the extreme vulnerability of our communities and the intersectional forms of discrimination.
The response to the crisis must be an effort to work not only nationally but globally, multilaterally, intersectionality, with participation in the decision-making not only by the leaders of the States but with the participation of representatives of the LGBTIQA+ civil society organizations. States have an obligation to respect human rights and measures must be taken taking into account the principles of Syracuse and SOGI.
We ask that the following considerations be taken into account and request urgent action in the following key areas:
Quarantine measures should not be carried out with criteria based on binary gender division or violations to the gender identity, as in the case of the Republic of Panama, which has issued a discriminatory measure by dividing the days and times in which “men” can circulate and when “women” can do it, which has served for the persecution of trans women and also does not contemplate other non-binary identities.
The use of quarantined security forces should not be an excuse for arbitrary arrests or human rights violations against vulnerable populations.
The limitations of the rights must be made in accordance with the principles of Syracuse, they must be precise and limited in their duration, always subject to review and possibility of appeal.
The measures should never be an obstacle to access to human rights such as access to health, education, freedom of expression, asylum, repatriation, home and/or refuge, as well as access to justice.
States should take these measures with the contribution and participation of a multidisciplinary crisis table that guarantees the participation of LGBTIQA+ civil society organizations.
Access to Health:
Access to the legal termination of pregnancy as well as contraceptive methods and prevention of sexually transmitted infections should not be impeded by health services and States should ensure compliance under the same conditions for the duration of the emergency measures due to the pandemic.
It must be ensured that the pandemic measures do not hinder trans and intersex people from accessing their hormonal treatments that are necessary for the full and free development of their gender identity.
People with HIV do not have to be limited access to their treatment and medication by any of the measures taken. LGBTIQA+ elderly people considered at risk in this crisis should have special assistance to ensure that they can continue with their treatments and access to their medications and social assistance.
States must make an effort to protect LGBTIQA + people of all ages from not experiencing discrimination in access and care in health services and ensure confidentiality in their medical care.
A free line should be set up for the LGBTIQA + community, where it can access adequate and reliable information on risk factors, preventive measures related to COVID-19, solve problems due to access to health services as well as the possibility to make the pertinent denunciations in case of violations of health rights.
Access to Justice:
Access to justice and legal services must be declared essential in quarantine so that their operation is guaranteed against possible human rights violations in isolation and / or due to abuses by the institutions, police or armed forces.
We recommend setting up a specific free line to make complaints related to the violation of our community’s rights during the crisis, with people specially trained for this purpose.
Economic and social relief measures:
The vast majority of our community is employed in informal, precarious, and unregulated sectors of the economy, so it is urgent that in the measures that the States take the care of the most vulnerable people that will be economically affected in a very drastic way by the Covid-19 crisis. In this sense, every measure of economic and social stimulation and relief should have as a priority the inclusion of the LGBTIQA + community (to cite examples: food cards, emergency family income, work plans and training paid by the State, etc.)
Representatives of LGBTIQA+ Civil Society should be in the Social Crisis Committees called by each State. In the social assistance reinforcements for the delivery of food modules in social and/or emergency neighborhoods as well as in rural or remote areas, the State must guarantee that LGBTIQA + individuals and families have access to them. Likewise, their identity must be protected in the case of not wanting to leave the closet if this turns out to be a risk for which it is essential to coordinate with civil society organizations.
States are recommended to take measures to temporarily freeze rents and suspend evictions including family hotels and pensions that are usually rented by LGBTIQA + people.
It must be guaranteed that the mortgage credit facility measures include LGBTIQA + people.
All types of family regardless of their legal formality should be protected by social assistance measures and paid licenses.
Access to Education
Education at all levels must be guaranteed by the States. In this sense, it is recommended to follow the practices of the Argentine Republic that went to virtual classes and offers divided classes for each stage of the school year on public television and the teaching staff accompany each of their school communities. Comprehensive Sexual Education with a gender perspective and LGBTIQA + must be present in these classes. It is also important that in the advertising cuts, helplines are promoted to children in case their identity and/or gender expression and sexual orientation rights are being violated or they are going through any situation of violence because they are isolated with their families.
While the quarantine and post-quarantine lasts, it is important that the States carry out strong information campaigns aimed at vulnerable groups or populations so that they can know their rights and the quick way to report any violation of them. This should be a priority for the LGBTIQA + population. That is why we recommend that specific campaigns be carried out for our community and that they be broadcast in all national media, especially in the mass media such as public television, national radio, etc.
Social distancing and isolation measures could cause an increase in domestic violence, where girls, youth and LGBTIQA+ people face greater discrimination due to their gender identity, their expression and / or sexual orientation.
States need to increase assistance for situations of violence and hatred based on sexual orientation and / or gender identity. In this sense, States must also offer accommodation services so that people of all ages living this situation can carry out their isolation safely and without violence. It is a good practice to explicitly include LGBTIQA + people in these measures. The use of quarantined security forces should not be an excuse for arbitrary arrests or human rights violations of vulnerable populations in our community and who have multiple vulnerabilities. The rights of LGBTIQA + migrants and refugees in each country must be protected from any type of attack and violence. Also guarantee that they access the actions and measures of support and social assistance under the same conditions as the local population.
They must be able to access safe and adequate shelters where they can isolate themselves and quarantine and their LGBTIQA + rights must be respected.
We remain available for any consultation and communication on the impact of the pandemic on the LGBTIQA + population worldwide.
Best regards ,
President AFDA Familias Diversas Asociación Civil