The third regional report on violations of the right to health contains information on cases of violations of the rights of gay men, other MSM and trans* people in 5 CEECA countries for 2019, as well as an analysis of trends identified over the three years of ECOM’s regional program “Right to Health” in 2017-2019.
The data obtained through monitoring, analyzed in terms of the changes that occurred during the three years of program implementation, allowed to analyze the types of human rights violations faced by gay men, other MSM, and trans* people, identify the main categories of violators, and point to trends related to changes in the region as a whole, as well as in individual countries.
In total, 71 cases were collected as part of the work of country teams in Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, and North Macedonia. The cases collected confirm ECOM’s hypothesis about the connection between violations of the right to health and other legal problems that exist in countries, which lead to violations of other rights. Using the examples of Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, and Belarus, the need to develop comprehensive anti-discrimination laws that would not only define what discrimination is, but also create effective complaint mechanisms against discrimination.
Collected cases show a variety of actual violations of the right to health: from refusals to provide medical care (urgent and planned), ART or other drugs, to disclosure of a patient’s diagnosis or SOGI. These cases involve both direct violations of the right to health, as well as the provision of medical care accompanied by offensive comments and the humiliation of patients. There are also documented cases in which a victim of physical and/or psychological violence chose not to seek medical care out of fear of repeated victimization and/or the disclosure of their SOGI or HIV status.
The lack of specific and highly-specialized medical services for trans* people remains a separate unresolved issue. In countries, where there are no protocols on the provision of medical services for trans* people, and accordingly no trained specialists, the trans* community remains in a vacuum and is especially vulnerable. This can lead to poor quality “underground” medical care, self-medication, and a significant deterioration in health.
It is important to note the relatively high level of homophobia and transphobia among law enforcement agencies. Many such cases were documented in North Macedonia and Kyrgyzstan (as well as in Kazakhstan and Tajikistan). Such abuse of power, in addition to the negative impact on the mental health of victims, leads to the refusal of community members to turn to the police and other state bodies, which leaves human rights violations against members of the LGBT community unpunished.
This publication was prepared and published with the financial support of UNAIDS.