Delegation of the European Union to the
UN and other international organisations in Geneva

HRC 44 - Interactive Dialogue with the Independent Expert on SOGI - EU Intervention

Geneva , 08/07/2020 - 15:14, UNIQUE ID: 200708_18
Statements on behalf of the EU

Madam President,

The EU would like to thank the Independent Expert for the presentation and the report on “conversion therapy”.

In these times of crisis, we also take note of the recent Guidelines on COVID-19 response and recovery issued by the Independent Expert on 18 June as well as the open letter on COVID-19 to the LGBT community of 27 March 2020.

It is important to to recall how the COVID-19 pandemic has brought about particular challenges faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) persons in many parts of the world. They often are confronted with stigma, discrimination and restrictions in access to health services due to discriminatory laws and negative social attitudes. For many LGBTI persons the lack of family or community support increases their vulnerability to violence, unemployment, poverty and homelessness. We welcome the statement of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on targeted actions needed to protect LGBTI people amid pandemic, and underline the importance of working hand in hand with LGBTI communities when planning and implementing national pandemic strategies.

As the High Commissioner for Human Rights has also stated, LGBTI youth have been particularly vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic. Given stay-at-home restrictions, some LGBTI youth have been confined in hostile environments with unsupportive family members or co-habitants, increasing their exposure to violence, as well as anxiety and depression underlining the need for support services and shelters to remain available.[1]

The report on “conversion therapy” by the Independent Expert sheds light on the practices of “conversion therapy” across the globe and their human rights implications.

It remains clear that many LGBTI persons experience discrimination in day-to-day life, which often lead to harmful effects, such as stigmatization, social exclusion or even violence. The EU will continue to strongly oppose all forms of discrimination, including on grounds of sex, race, ethnic or social origin, religion or belief, political or any other opinion, disability, age, sexual orientation, and gender identity. The EU will continue its efforts in enabling the UN mandate holders, including the Independent Expert, to make progress in having access to a range of countries, and foster a climate of dialogue to help overcome fears and suspicions.

Mr. Madrigal-Borloz, in your report you recommend that States support the development of research and data collection, disaggregated by all relevant dimensions on the specific issue of practices of “conversion therapy”.  Can you elaborate further on this suggestion?

Thank you

[1] HC Bachelet, “COVID-19: Targeted actions needed to protect LGBTI people amid pandemic”, 17 April 2020

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