Unaddressed, historical, structural and systemic discrimination and violence in the world create situations of crisis. Systems of patriarchy, racism and xenophobia and/or neoliberal capitalism created and continue to further and entrench this discrimination and violence increasing situations of crisis across the world. The impacts of any crisis on women and girls has to be addressed considering neoliberal policies that have defunded or privatized public health systems, eroded labour rights and other networks of protection, and promoted precarious forms of labour. At this moment in time, the multiple and intersecting crises the world has been experiencing for centuries have never been so visible. The economic crisis caused by COVID-19 has exposed the brokenness and inequality of global capitalism. These structural oppressions manifest in different crisis situations while exacerbating the existing forms of discrimination they cause.
In response to the Special Rapporteur’s call for inputs on housing discrimination and spatial segregation, SRI made a submission addressing the impact of discrimination based on gender and sexuality norms.
The SRI collaborated on submissions for Eswatini, Hungary, Samoa, Sudan, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, and Papua New Guinea for the 39th Universal Periodic Review (UPR) session.
This submission is made on behalf of 12 civil society organizations and individuals working on issues concerning gender, sexuality and migration from different perspectives. We commend the Committee on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families (CMW) for addressing the pressing issue of migrants’ rights to liberty and freedom from arbitrary detention and welcome the opportunity to provide inputs to the Draft General comment No. 5 (2020) on migrants’ rights to liberty and freedom from arbitrary detention in a very critical time given the COVID-19, discriminatory government response against the migrant workers during the pandemic and worryingly increasing incidents and crackdown against migrant workers globally. We believe that integrating a clear intersectional and gender analysis will further strengthen the draft general recommendation and set out some analysis and recommendation below for the Committee’s consideration.
This submission urges the Committee to clearly recognize that any deprivation of liberty resulting from discriminatory laws, regulation and policies or their discriminatory application is by definition arbitrary and breaches the right of equal protection before the law. Discriminatory laws, policies and regulations addressing migration and beyond have a disproportionate negative impact on migrant women, adolescents, sex workers, people living with HIV, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, gender non-conforming and intersex persons, persons with disabilities, and anyone who is perceived to have transgressed sexual and gender norms. In the context of migration and detention, such individuals and groups are more likely to suffer compounded rights violations. As a result, States cannot hold them in detention in relation to migratory measures and must always provide alternatives to detention.