Amnesty International called on governments in Asia-Pacific to treat the pandemic’s disproportionate impact on transgender people as a “wake-up call” to build more inclusive and sustainable economies and societies for trans and gender diverse people.
The organisation said, “The dire state of transgender people’s rights to healthcare, housing, and employment in Asia and the Pacific Islands worsened at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.”
In the report, “Pandemic or not, we have the right to live”, the human rights group documented discrimination, violence, and marginalisation of transgender people in 15 countries – Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Japan, Mainland China, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Tonga, and Vietnam.
“The pandemic and governments’ responses to it have laid bare the many barriers that transgender and gender diverse people in Asia and the Pacific Islands must navigate every day to meet their basic needs.”– Nadia Rahman, Amnesty International’s researcher and policy advisor on Gender
Amnesty International also claimed that transgender people faced loss of income, food insecurity, homelessness, obstacles in accessing healthcare and gender-affirming treatment, increased domestic violence, and absence of social protection support.
The organisation referred to these problems as “systemic issues” that states in the region would need to address to comply with their human rights obligations.
“The culturally rich history of transgender and gender diverse people in many countries across the Asia Pacific, and indeed world over, has been overshadowed by structural discrimination, violence, and stigma. Governments must not turn away from their suffering, but address the structural conditions and inequalities that shape trans people’s everyday lives, choices, and opportunities, which, if left unchanged, will continue to make them particularly vulnerable to future crises.”– Nadia Rahman
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