• LGBTI people chased from their homes
• About five people have already attempted to commit suicide due to the discrimination
Instances in which Lesbian,Gay,Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) people are subjected to unjust treatment in Botswana have increased ever since the country began its lock down on April 2, The Botswana Gazette has established.
This publication made the discovery in the course of an interview with Lesbians, Gays & Bisexuals of Botswana (LEGABIBO) Policy and Legal Advocacy Manager Caine Youngman. He noted that as the country introduced its lock down and other stay-at-home restrictions , some of the LGBTI people were also forced to be confined in hostile environments with unsupportive family members.
“There are some people who are already dealing with a lot of mental health problems because they are placed in abusive environments. I mean there are some who have to deal with being told that they are useless demons, the sad thing is that it happens daily,” he said. “And there is nothing that they can do to run away from such environments because of the lock down. So it is a problem that keeps on building up; due to that since April 2 we have dealt with five people who threatened to commit suicide.”
Youngman noted that they have also received a couple of cases in which some LGBTI people were kicked out from their homes. “We are currently running around to try and find shelter for them . I must say it is not easy as guest houses and hotels are closed,” he stated.
The LGBTI discrimination during COVID-19 seems to be a universal decry as the UN human rights office, last week Friday, issued a new guidance with key actions to protect the LGBTI people against discrimination. “LGBTI people are among the most vulnerable and marginalised in many societies, and among those most at risk from COVID-19”, said Michelle Bachelet, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in the guidance. “In countries where same-sex relations are criminalised or trans people targeted, they might not even seek treatment for fear of arrest or being subjected to violence.”
Bachelet further advised national authorities and other stakeholders to offer support services to the LGBTI people during the pandemic. “ This means identifying and addressing the ways in which they are particularly vulnerable, ensuring they are not discriminated against, and finding solutions. It also means ensuring their voices are heard,” she said.