NATION

Vulnerable Groups Are At A Greater Risk Of Discrimination And Violence In The Context Of COVID-19 Pandemic

Commission director Ashwin Raj said non-conforming persons are at a greater risk of facing increasing inequalities, discrimination, loss of livelihood and family violence in these extra-ordinary times.
18 May 2020 13:06
Vulnerable Groups Are At A Greater Risk Of Discrimination And Violence In The Context Of COVID-19 Pandemic

As the world battles to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and its far-reaching consequences, the Fiji Human Rights Anti-Discrimination Commission calls on the recognition of  vulnerable and marginalized communities such as LGBTQIA+(Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning, Intersex, Allies….).

Commission director Ashwin Raj said non-conforming persons are at a greater risk of facing increasing inequalities, discrimination, loss of livelihood and family violence in these extra-ordinary times.

The International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia; Biphobia (IDAHOTB) was celebrated globally on Sunday 17 May.

Section 26(3) of the Fijian Constitution bestows upon the state and society an important responsibility in ensuring that prevailing stereotypes and entrenched prejudices, structural inequalities and barriers do not lead to increased violence and discrimination against persons with diverse sexual orientations, gender identities, gender expressions and sex characteristics in the context of this global pandemic.

Mr Raj said the theme for this year’s IDAHOTB celebration “Breaking the Silence” is particularly significant in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Restrictions to fundamental rights and freedoms to meet the legitimate aim of public health also poses a greater risk of exposure of the LGBTQIA+ and gender non-conforming community to family violence including verbal, physical and sexual abuse, hate speech and bullying, economic vulnerability, discrimination in securing gainful
employment, accessing social protection schemes and access to justice when in conflict with law.

“Violation and discrimination faced by the LGBTQIA+ and gender non-conforming communities are equally intersectional. LGBTQIA+ and gender non-conforming persons with disabilities and those already in situations of vulnerability and precariousness such as sex workers face the real and daunting possibility of loss of livelihood and homelessness.”

He said constitutional safeguards are not enough.

“More than ever, we need to recognize the inherent human dignity and humanity in others if we are going to build a just and equal world.”

Feedback: jennis.naidu@fijisun.com.fj

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