A group of diplomatic missions in Georgia released a statement on May 17 – the international day against homophobia, biphobia and transphobia – expressing support and solidarity for the LGBTQI+ community in Georgia “during the COVID-19 crisis and beyond.”
The cosignatories urged Georgian officials to “heed their voices and address their needs without bias or discrimination.”
Noting that no one was immune from the health threat, and risks to livelihoods caused by the the novel coronavirus pandemic, representatives of the diplomatic corps stressed that “the hardest hit are the vulnerable and the marginalized, including the LGBTQI+ community.”
The cosignatories called attention to the “discrimination and stigma that LGBTQI+ people face in accessing healthcare and other social services” that could prove “fatal” during a pandemic, and argued that economic shutdown exposed community to “debilitating losses in income without any social safety net.”
The group welcomed the efforts undertaken by the Georgian government to “help the LGBTQI+ community and other vulnerable and marginalized groups weather the pandemic.”
The diplomats stressed however that the challenge goes beyond the immediate crisis.
“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,” the cosignatories highlighted.
Commending the steps that have been taken since then, including the adoption in February of Chapter 15 of the National Human Rights Action Plan, the cosignatories said they “look forward to firm commitments and swift, coordinated action to deliver on this plan.”