Ezulwini: The United Nations (UN) is always concerned when human rights and dignity of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex (LGBTQI) community are violated.
This was disclosed by the United Nations Resident Coordinator, Nathalie Ndongo-Seh, at the UN75 Dialogue with the LGBTQI Community held at Happy Valley Hotel on Thursday.
Ndongo-Seh said as the UN they were particularly concerned when the human rights and the dignity of LGBTQI people are violated, notably in access to health care services, and when they continue to experience stigma, abuse and persecution in communities.
The UN75 Dialogue with the LGBTQI Community comes at a time when Eswatini government’s refusal to formally recognize the existence, which led Eswatini Sexual and Gender Minorities (ESGM) to go to court over the Registrar of Companies’ rejection of its application for registration.
Ndongo-Seh said as the UN, they advocate for the safety, the good health and the well-being of sexual and gender minorities.
She noted that there were reports of COVID-19 directives being misused by law enforcement officers to target LGBTI individuals and organizations. In Eswatini, LGBTQI continue to struggle for recognition as well as to end discrimination.
Ndongo-Seh said she have noted with concern the findings of a recent study that showed that more than 30 percent LGBTQI in Eswatini have been denied health care because of gender identity. Many more (41 percent) were reported to have been insulted in health care facility after revealing gender identity.
She highlighted that the UN has declared 2020 is the year of dialogues and is encouraging all countries to facilitate discussions among different groups in order to talk about challenges, aspirations and how – either individually or preferably collectively. The UN is gathering voices from all people, especially from those often left behind, including from marginalized groups. She said the purpose is to hear views and concerns from anybody involved.
The feedback from those discussions will be included in a report to be presented at the 75th session of the General Assembly in September 2020, in which Eswatini will serve as Vice President. “This puts our Kingdom in a privileged position to contribute in shaping the future of the world at such a critical time in the human history”, she said.
Ndongo-Seh said UN was aware of the struggles that minority populations face around the world from the lack of recognition to discrimination and stigma, along with the same vulnerabilities stemming from lack of job security or unemployment, food insecurity, limited access to adequate health and psychosocial services, and so on.
COVID-19 has laid bare severe and systemic inequalities. The UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres recently observed that, among the many severe impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, is the increased vulnerability of LGBTI people.
He noted that many LGBTI people are experiencing heightened stigma as a result of the virus, as well as new obstacles when seeking health care. This is happening when LGBTQI were already facing bias, attacks and murder simply for who they are or whom they love.