Human rights for LGBTQ+ people are deteriorating as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
UK-based international charity Kaleidoscope Trust recently consulted with 37 countries in the Commonwealth, where they discovered an emerging humanitarian crisis for the queer community across the world.
LGBTQ+ people are reportedly facing further inequality, exclusion, discrimination and poverty due to the outbreak and the less-than-satisfactory responses to the pandemic from worldwide governments.
And due to the disproportionate impact of emergency situations on marginalised people, LGBTQ+ organisations and communities are deteriorating in all regions of the Commonwealth.
According to the report, 85% of those consulted are concerned about the wellbeing of their staff and volunteers, and 85% are concerned about their service users and their organisation’s ability to help them during this time.
81% are also worried about their current and projected losses of income.
Phyll Opoku-Gyimah, executive director of Kaleidoscope Trust, said: “We are witnessing an emerging humanitarian crisis for LGBTI+ people as government responses to Covid-19 leave vulnerable LGBTI+ communities at grave risk.
“Commonwealth states must act now to prevent further deterioration of the situation domestically, and the UK has the opportunity to show international leadership in its role as Commonwealth Chair-in-Office.
“LGBTI+ human rights are important during the best of times and the worst of times.”
Phyll continued to say that “LGBTI+ people across the Commonwealth cannot be left behind during the Covid-19 crisis” due to the fact that social attitudes towards the community worsen during emergency situations.
“The UK government has a responsibility to ensure LGBTI+ human rights work is able to continue during the Covid-19 crisis.”
The report states that in Botswana, LGBTQ+ people are being blamed for the pandemic, and in Barbados, the community is experiencing an increase in verbal harassment by authorities when seeking assistance.
There has been at least one suicide in Barbados as a result of this.
Raven Gill, of LGBTQ+ organisation Butterfly Barbados, said authorities are “being more disrespectful when community members call to report abuse, threats, harassment or even eviction, not assisting, making slurs and even threats.”
In Pakistan and Saint Lucia, queer people are being laid off from work or made redundant, while LGBTQ+ people in Kiribati and Sri Lanka are at risk in lockdown due to relatives who discriminate against them.
Accessing medication has also been difficult in Ghana and Malta, especially for HIV-positive and trans people.
Mac-Darling Cobbinah, from the Centre for Popular Education and Human Rights in Ghana, said: “Those who we have tried to provide support to were attacked by the military and police with canes, forcing all to run underground.”
You can read Kaleidoscope Trust’s full report on LGBTQ+ people in the Commonwealth in the coronavirus era here.