A new consultation by Kaleidoscope Trust reveals an unfolding humanitarian crisis 

BY SOPHIE GRIFFITHS, IMAGE VIA INSTAGRAM

Today, a new consultation by Kaleidoscope Trust of 34 LGBTQI charities working in 37 Commonwealth countries, reveals an unfolding humanitarian crisis for LGBTQI communities across the Commonwealth as a result of the current Covid-19 pandemic. 

The governments’ responses to the pandemic are making worse the threats that inequality, exclusion, discrimination and poverty already pose to LGBTQI individuals every day. 

The consultation has revealed a deteriorating situation for LGBTQI organisations and communities in all regions as emergency situations have a disproportionate impact on their livelihoods. 

Coronavirus has intensified the risks to LGBTQI people of job loss, housing and food, as well as to physical and mental wellbeing and safety. In most countries, there is often just one or a very small number of LGBTQI charities that support the LGBTQI community and their survival is currently at stake.

Phyll Opoku-Gyimah, executive director of Kaleidoscope Trust, says:  “We are witnessing an emerging humanitarian crisis for LGBTI+ people as government responses to Covid-19 leave vulnerable LGBTI+ communities at grave risk. Commonwealth states must act now to prevent further deterioration of the situation domestically, and the UK has the opportunity to show international leadership in its role as Commonwealth Chair-in-Office. 

“The Commonwealth Equality Network (TCEN) contributed to the UK government recognising and expressing regret for anti-LGBTI+ laws that were enacted across the Commonwealth during the UK’s colonial regime. LGBTI+ human rights are important during the best of times and the worst of times. If the government is to make good on its promise to address and redress colonial-era wrongs, then LGBTI+ people across the Commonwealth cannot be left behind during the Covid-19 crisis.

“The structural vulnerabilities codified in laws and social attitudes in countries across the world are made worse during a crisis like Covid-19. The UK government has a responsibility to ensure LGBTI+ human rights work is able to continue during the Covid-19 crisis.” 

The full Commonwealth Covid-19 report is available here. 

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