The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on April 17 in a statement urged countries to ensure its LGBT+ community doesn't face discrimination while seeking healthcare amid coronavirus outbreak. Bachelet's request for countries came as the UN published new guidelines for States and other stakeholders on COVID-19 and the human rights of LGBT+ people.
"LGBTI people are among the most vulnerable and marginalised in many societies, and among those most at risk from COVID-19. In countries where same-sex relations are criminalised or trans people targeted, they might not even seek treatment for fear of arrest or being subjected to violence. We know that efforts to tackle the pandemic will only work if everyone's rights to life and health are protected." Bachelet said.
The new UN guidance requires countries to take the LGBT+ community fully into account given that they are more likely to be unemployed than the general public. The guidance also stated that the 'stay at home' measure may have confined many from the LGBT+ community with unsupportive family members or co-habitants, increasing their exposure to depression and in some cases even violence. So, it is important that support services and shelter remain available during the current health crisis.
The coronavirus pandemic has infected over 2.33 million people globally and has killed nearly 1,60,000 patients since it first broke out in December 2019. The virus is believed to have originated from a seafood market in the Chinese city of Wuhan, the initial epicentre of the disease, where animals were reportedly being traded illegally. China had been able to bend its COVID-19 curve, shifting the hotspot to the West. Currently, the United States, Italy, Spain, France and the United Kingdom are the most affected countries in the world with a recorded death toll of 14,000 and above.
(Image credit: AP)