In the face of
the of the recent crisis, caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the International
Institute on Race, Equality and Human Rights (Race and Equality) reminds States
of the importance of safeguarding the health of the entire population
regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity; Public policies that
encompass the crisis must be thought of from intersectional approaches that
address gender and human rights perspectives.
Race and Equality
warns about the differential impact on rights that crises like these can have
on historically marginalized and socially vulnerable populations such as LGBTI
people. “The social reality of LGBTI people in Latin America and the Caribbean
is characterized by precarious access to health services, education, work and
comprehensive well-being, realities that must be considered by the States when
designing virus containment strategies,” says Zuleika Rivera, LGBTI Program
Officer at Race and Equality.
of alert starts precisely because, although these measures affect the entire
social group, those who have always lived in a state of vulnerability, tend to
be mostly affected. For example, trans women sex workers are very affected by
the strategies that are being used so far, especially because in order to eat
and pay rent in the place where they live, they must work, which not only puts
them at risk, but a whole social group in imminent risk, ” she continues.
in Latin America
society organizations in Latin America and the Caribbean expressed to us their
concern about the containment strategies used by States without taking into
account differential and rights-based approaches.
In Peru, for
example, they have expressed concern about the impacts of the measures taken so
far by the State to prevent the spread of the virus. These strategies impact LGBT people who mostly
live from informal work, as is the case of the trans population. In addition,
the self-financing of trans and LGBTI foster homes is in danger. “If the LGBTI population has to continue
working or needs treatment for HIV / AIDS, how are they going to mobilize? Or
if someone gets sick who guarantees that they will not be discriminated against
because of their sexual orientation or gender identity? ” added Santiago
Balvín, an independent trans rights activist.
On the other
hand, Peruvian LGBTI organizations have shown concern about the actions of
Congress and what that may mean for LGBTI rights in the country, since it is a
time when the rights of said population could be limited.
In the Dominican
Republic, the trans organization TRANSSA has expressed uncertainty because the
State has not declared a national emergency, which puts the lives of many
people in the country at risk, including LGBTI people. Likewise, they pointed
out that the LGBTI population with informal or independent work will be the
most affected if a curfew or a national quarantine is decreed, then highlighting
the state of collective panic over the disinformation in the networks about
COVID-19. They also have shown concern about access to health for the
population with HIV / AIDS.
In Brazil, many
of the same worries were expressed by civil society organizations who explain
that the State has not taken any serious action to prevent the spread of the
virus and has not recommended or imposed any type of quarantine.
inequality within the country, the Afro-descendant population can suffer more
serious impacts in relation to COVID-19, since they live in situations of great
precariousness and are the most dependent on the health system. Many of these
populations live in favelas, removed from their homes, without access to water
or health, or are sex workers. Some communities have been without clean water
or basic sanitation for weeks. “Mental health is another serious concern as
many struggle with anxiety or depression or have a higher tendency to develop
anxiety or depression, and given all the information on social media, it could
lead to an increase in episodes of mental health, not to mention the
detrimental effects of isolation and confinement ”pointed out, among other
things, Bruna Benavides, secretary of the political coordination of the
National Association of Transvestites and Transsexuals, ANTRA.
organizations, such as ANTRA, have published recommendations for trans people who
work in the informal labor market at the following link:
In the case of
Colombia, the exponential growth of the confirmed cases of people carrying
COVID-19 is worrisome.
Although the National Government has enacted measures related to the closure of
maritime and ground borders, and has promoted measures for education and work
from homes to promote isolation, the lack of social and economic measures that
take into account the conditions =of the most marginalized and vulnerable
population is still troublesome.
uncertainty regarding the actions that the government may take continues. To date, no state of emergency or quarantine
has been declared. Citizens are concerned that the government is not taking
drastic measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and that there is no focus
on self-responsibility and self-care about preventive measures that citizens
Race and Equality
and our counterparts call on the States of the region, and in accordance with
the curfew measures that have been declared in some areas of the region,
request the surveillance and protection of the human rights of those who could
be most affected by these events that could affect their lives and personal
Likewise, we urge
states to include LGBTI populations in their national plans to combat COVID-19
taking into account the differential impact of the crisis and to continue
informing the population about the progression of the virus, as well as the
services available for this population’s particular needs.
We call on States
to protect the economic income of the poorest households
and those unable to telework; measures that allow the flexibility of payments
of bank and financial obligations; policies that guarantee adequate treatment
and protection for people over 60 years of age, especially those belonging to
sectors, and measures that ensure access to sanitary conditions to prevent the
spread of the virus, such as access to public toilets, especially for migrants,
sex workers, the homeless, and imprisoned people.
call on States not to use the health crisis to implement legislation that
limits or presents setbacks in the area of human and LGBTI rights.
We call on the
LGBTI population to follow the recommendations of the Ministry of Health and
the WHO, remain calm, and apply preventive measures.
 As of March 19, 2020, at 12:00 noon, 93
cases of people carrying COVID-19 have been registered, according to figures
from the Ministry of Health.
 LGBT people often face poverty, social
exclusion, and lack of access to housing. LGBT people are often expelled from
their families and schools, and in some cases they cannot even get jobs that
pay the minimum wage. This situation could push them towards the informal
economy or criminal activity.
lack of family support and social rejection accentuate the conditions of
loneliness, isolation, poverty, and lack of access to housing and health
services for LGBTI elders.
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