Violence against LGBTI people increased during Covid: EU

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He stressed that every human being is born free and equal and reaffirmed the EU’s strong commitment to defend and promote human rights, including for LGBTI people, reports dpa news agency…reports Asian Lite News.

The European Union’s (EU) foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell has highlighted the worsening situation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) people as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has led to even higher levels of violence and discrimination against LGBTI persons, including domestic violence, hate speech online and offline, and hate crimes,” the 74-year-old said on Sunday ahead of Monday’s International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia.

He stressed that every human being is born free and equal and reaffirmed the EU’s strong commitment to defend and promote human rights, including for LGBTI people, reports dpa news agency.

He said he was concerned that 69 countries criminalised loving relationships between people of the same sex and 11 countries even threatened the death penalty.

“The EU will continue to address discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, highlighting the vulnerable situation of LGBTI persons in the Covid-19 recovery and calling for fairer, more inclusive and sustainable society,” Borrell said in the statement.

The International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia is observed every year on May 17.

In March, the European Parliament had adopted a resolution declaring the entire 27-member European Union as a “LGBTIQ Freedom Zone”.

The symbolic resolution was passed in response to local authorities in Poland labelling themselves “LGBT ideology-free zones” in recent years.

The members of the European Parliament also highlighted that LGBTIQ-free zones are part of a broader context in which the community in Poland is subject to increased discrimination and attacks, notably growing hate speech.

Although the Commission rejected applications for EU funding under its town-twinning programme from Polish towns that adopted such resolutions, MEPs urge the institution to go further.

The Commission should use all tools, they say, including infringement procedures, Article 7 of the Treaty on EU, as well as the recently adopted regulation on protecting the EU’s budget, in order to address violations of the fundamental rights of LGBTIQ people in the EU.

Same-sex relationships are not legally recognised in Poland, and the country already bans same-sex couples from adopting children together.

However, as single people are permitted to adopt, some have managed to get around the ban by applying to adopt as single parents, according to BBC report.

Under the new law, authorities will be required to perform background checks on anyone applying to adopt a child as a single parent.

If a person is found to be applying as a single parent when they are in a same-sex relationship, they will be criminally liable.

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