Ambassadors of the EU, US, UK and UN, in addition to other high-ranking foreign officials, have ‘welcomed the efforts’ undertaken by the Georgian government to help the LGBTQI+ community and other vulnerable and marginalised groups ‘weather the pandemic’, urging them ‘to heed their voices and address their needs without bias or discrimination’.
The discrimination and stigma that LGBTQI+ people routinely face in accessing healthcare and other social services can prove fatal in the #COVID19 pandemic.
On this #IDAHOBIT, we express support for and solidarity with the LGBTQI+ community in #Georgia. t.co/zJKsgGlgrD
— UNDP in Georgia (@UNDPGeorgia) May 17, 2020
Today marks 30 years since the World Health Organisation recognised that homosexuality is not a mental disorder.
On this International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT), we express our support for and solidarity with the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTQI+) community in Georgia”, the joint statement reads.
Noting that this year’s IDAHOBIT ‘passes in the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic’, the foreign officials said ‘no one is immune from the health threat, nor from the risks to livelihoods that stem from the measures imposed to halt the outbreak’.
On this date last year, the international community in Georgia spoke out about the discord between the sweeping human rights protections enshrined in law, including the prohibition of all discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and the routine prejudice and violence that LGBTQI+ persons face in their everyday reality”, they said.
Commending the steps taken since then, the foreign officials ‘look forward to firm commitments and swift, coordinated action to deliver on this plan’.
They said Government officials at all levels ‘need to work with resolve to create the conditions’ to enable LGBTQI+ persons ‘to exercise their rights and express their identities without risk or fear’.
The responsibility does not end here, however. Religious and community leaders, civil society and the wider public all have crucial roles to play in creating a climate of tolerance in Georgia”, the foreign officials added.
The joint statement also notes that the COVID-19 pandemic ‘has shown Georgia at its best, with individuals acting in solidarity to ensure that their own actions do not jeopardize others’.
Today is #IDAHOBIT. Today, we fly the flags for all colleagues who haven’t come out yet, for all who have come out and for all our allies! pic.twitter.com/ALJpYw0IrM
— European Central Bank (@ecb) May 17, 2020
Looking ahead, they said, ‘this spirit needs to embrace the full diversity of Georgian life, including the LGBTQI+ individuals, ‘in the interest of building a harmonious and resilient society’.