LGBTI CORE GROUP JOINT STATEMENT TO THE 66TH SESSION OF THE COMMISSION ON THE STATUS OF WOMEN
14 March 2022
Statement delivered by Belgium on behalf of the Member States of the LGBTI Core Group.
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, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Cabo Verde, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Ecuador, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Malta, Montenegro, Mexico, Nepal, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Norway, Peru, South Africa, 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.
At the outset, we would like to express full solidarity with all women and girls in all their diversity living in conflict situations and other emergencies. We know that women and girls, including lesbian, bisexual, trans, and intersex persons, are particularly impacted by crises. We stand in solidarity with all women and girls affected by the situation in Ukraine.
The Commission on the Status of Women is the principal intergovernmental body dedicated exclusively to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls in all their diversity.
This year’s theme, “achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls in the context of climate change, environment and disaster risk reduction policies and programs,” is an opportunity to highlight the importance of including LGBTI persons in this discussion to ensure that no one is left behind, and that no one is discriminated against because of their sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and sex characteristics. LGBTI persons also experience gender-based violence and discrimination, so their rights, strengths and interests must also be taken into account.
The Secretary-General’s report to the Commission highlights that the effects of climate change, environmental degradation and disasters disproportionately affect women and girls in all their diversity, including those who face multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination. It is crucial to address the critical links between gender equality, human rights, climate change and environmental issues, and the impacts on LGBTI persons, including on their mental health.
LGBTI persons face disproportionate risks to violence and discrimination following a disaster as well as the ongoing impacts of climate change. Factors that exclude LGBTI persons from accessing basic services such as quality health care, and safe water and sanitation, are exacerbated during emergency responses and recovery efforts.
Climate change and environmental crises and disasters can curtail the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and girls in all their diversity, when goods and services are limited or unavailable owing to the destruction of infrastructure, roads, and clinics, in rural and remote areas in particular. Entrenched gender discrimination compounds the risks for young women and adolescent girls and LGBTI persons, in particular those in vulnerable and marginalized situations.
Furthermore, we are concerned about the increase in threats and violence against LGBTI human rights defenders, including those working on environmental issues.
We believe that women and girls in all their diversity must have full, equal, effective, and meaningful participation and leadership opportunities at all levels of climate change, environmental and disaster risk reduction governance.
In this regard, the Secretary-General’s report to the Commission on the priority theme is timely in highlighting that persons with diverse sexual orientation, gender identity and expression and sex characteristics (SOGIESC) are at increased risk of gender-based violence and multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination when attempting to access protection and assistance in the aftermath of disasters, and their needs are often neglected in disaster risk reduction policies and practices.
We therefore echo the Secretary General’s view that effective framework for monitoring and reporting for gender-responsive climate change policies and programs and disaster risk reduction is important to ensure that States can effectively respond to the needs and priorities of women and girls in all their diversity. Also, we echo the call for States to overcome multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination women and girls face to deliver gender-responsive outcomes.