UNFPA call for inclusion of LGBTQIA+ people



MASERU – Countries are urged to safeguard the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTQIA+) individuals by including them in disaster response planning, addressing their concerns in protection policies and practices, and recognising their unique sexual and reproductive health needs.

Despite progress in many countries, LGBTQIA+ people still face high levels of violence and inequalities in public and private settings, including within families and workplaces, mainly due to their sexual orientation and gender identity. The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) stands for and works towards rights and choices for all.

The fund recognises that leaving no one behind means prioritising the rights and inclusion of all people, including members of the LGBTQIA+ community, as the world navigates unprecedented challenges and plans for a peaceful, prosperous future. This year’s theme, “Integrating LGBTQI+ rights and SRHR in global humanitarian and climate resilience policies,” highlights the importance of recognising and addressing the specific needs and rights of LGBTQIA+ communities within broader humanitarian and climate resilience frameworks.

Giselle Ratalane from the People’s Matrix Association said many LGBTQIA+ communities, as minority populations, are directly impacted by climate change due to unemployment, relying heavily on farming. She noted that many in the community cannot subsist on agriculture due to the negative impacts of climate change, making it even harder for them to sustain themselves.

“I recommend stronger protections for sexual and gender minorities and stronger legal policies in the workplace to protect the LGBTQIA+ community. We would also like to see more support from partners and the government for LGBTQIA+ rights organisations,” she added. The 2024 International Day Against Homophobia commemoration acknowledges that communities around the world are showing greater acceptance of LGBTQIA+ people and are increasingly working to protect their rights.

“For example, social and legal norms have shifted away from criminalising LGBTQIA+ people and towards protecting their rights. Since 2017, 13 countries have removed laws criminalising LGBTQIA+ sexuality. Since 2019, 11 countries have legalised marriage equality,” UNFPA says in a press statement.

Additionally, policies safeguarding the rights of sexual and gender minorities are gaining ground at every level. These shifts have empowered LGBTQIA+ people and spurred health systems to improve access to sensitive and stigma-free care. International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia is observed globally on May 17, 2024. The day aims to raise awareness about the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex people, as well as to acknowledge and celebrate diversity.

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