Statement on behalf of LGBTI UN Core Group at the 59th Session of the Commission for Social Development
59th SESSION OF THE COMMISSION FOR SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
Statement delivered on behalf of
LGBTI UN Core Group by
H.E. Vanessa FRAZIER
Permanent Representative of Malta to the UN.
I have the honor to deliver this statement on behalf of the Member States of the LGBTI Core Group for the first time in the Commission for Social Development.
The LGBTI Core Group is an informal cross regional group established in 2008. The group is co-chaired by Argentina and The Netherlands, and includes Albania, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Cabo Verde, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Ecuador, El Salvador, France, Germany, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Malta, Montenegro, Mexico, Nepal, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Norway, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the United States of America, Uruguay, the European Union, as well as the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the non-governmental organizations Human Rights Watch and OutRight Action International.
Our overarching goal is to work within the United Nations framework to ensure universal respect for the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all individuals without distinction, regardless of their real or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity or sex characteristics, including lesbian, gay bisexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) persons. Our particular focus is on protecting LGBTI persons from violence and discrimination.
The main theme of this session “Socially just transition towards sustainable development: the role of digital technologies on social development and well-being of all” is fundamental for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals contained in the 2030 Agenda and the pledge that all of us made to leave no one behind, including LGBTI persons.
Digital technologies offer new opportunities for achieving the SDGs and the objectives defined in the World Summit for Social Development and they are key instruments for eradicating poverty, promoting full and productive employment and fostering social inclusion for all, including LGBTI persons. But there are also some risks that have to be addressed, when talking about digital technologies, for example to the right to privacy of children and adults, the negative impact artificial intelligence or machine-learning technologies can have, in particular when employed for identification, tracking, profiling, facial recognition, classifying and behavioral prediction or scoring of individuals without proper technical, regulatory, legal and ethical safeguards, transparency policies as well as data protection frameworks.
Therefore, we need to promote the use of digital technologies as a tool to protect human rights of persons in vulnerable situations, such as LGBTI persons, and foster their use to counter the multiple and intersecting forms of violence and discrimination faced by them, including hate speech, cyberbullying, cyberstalking and online violence. We should make sure to bridge the digital divide between countries as well as between privileged and disadvantaged persons that are excluded by the digital divide. In that regard, we encourage this Commission to highlight the importance of implementing national policies based on international human rights law and full inclusion for LGBTI persons across the globe, so that no one is left behind.
The COVID-19 has increased the pace of digital technology. It is also an opportunity to re-evaluate the benefits and challenges of new working methods that we adopted in less than a year. While incorporating these new changes to our work, we should embrace all kinds of diversities, be inclusive to the needs and of the sensitives of all persons belonging to minorities, including LGBTI. We should be able to use digital transformation as a platform to spread the message of diversity, inclusivity, and acceptance for everyone.
With ten years left for the completion of the 2030 Agenda, the ongoing public health crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic is posing unprecedented and multifaceted challenges to social development and the well-being of people worldwide, hitting those in vulnerable situations the hardest. Among the many severe impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic is that the vulnerable situation of LGBTI persons worsened. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbates the economic situation of LGBTI individuals, who face greater risks of unemployment, poverty and exclusion. Because many in the LGBTI community work in the informal sector, they often lack access to paid sick leave, unemployment compensation, and coverage. As a result of the dramatic economic downturn caused by COVID-19 and the lack of sustainable structure to maintain economic well-being in times of crisis, these individuals are even more exposed to poverty and multiple and intersecting forms of violence and discrimination.
Restrictions on the freedom of movement may impede access to medical treatment and care. This affects individuals on medication for chronic conditions and persons with disabilities, as well as transgender and intersex individuals who may have specific health requirements. Given overloaded health systems, treatment and medical needs of LGBTI persons, including HIV testing and treatment, hormonal treatment and gender affirming treatments for trans persons, may be interrupted or deprioritized. Equal access to medicines, vaccines and medical commodities for all, including LGBTI persons, must be ensured to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and the objectives of the World Summit for Social Development.
We are fully committed to tackling these issues in this session of the Commission for Social Development and as we seek support from all Member States to this cause, we would like to stress that standing up against violations and abuses of human rights, including violence and discrimination, in all its forms and in all spaces, including online, is not and should never be a matter of controversy. It is just right and humane.
I thank you.