NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The Bahamas must implement a feminist, human rights-based and intersectional approach, focusing on those who are most marginalised, in its response to the coronavirus outbreak, insisted a local human rights organisation.
In an open letter from Equality Bahamas to the prime minister and attorney general, the organisation noted that with the current health crisis, the country in cooperation with civil society, must adopt a comprehensive policy that secure people’s human rights, including the right to have access to support and protection systems, information and resources.
The organisation said the government must recognise and prioritise the needs of people in vulnerable situations, including women, children, elderly, people with disabilities, LGBT+ people, people with compromised health, people living in rural communities, unhoused people, institutionalised people, refugees, migrants, stateless people as well as people in war zones
The letter insisted that the global pandemic also has a disproportionate harmful impact on women’s and girls’ ability to enjoy their human rights due to their sex, gender, and sexual orientation, exacerbating their vulnerabilities or magnifying existing inequality.
“In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond the current crisis, The Bahamas must implement a feminist, human rights-based and intersectional approach which places the most marginalized people at the center and takes into account the cumulative way in which multiple factors and forms of discrimination have either marginalized or excluded people, thereby making them more vulnerable to harmful outcomes as a result of the pandemic itself of the measures that are introduced to contain it,” it read.
“We call on the government of The Bahamas to urgently adopt a comprehensive policy and to take the necessary measures to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic in accordance with human rights standards and international commitments, and uphold the principles of equality and non-discrimination.”
The local organisation endorsed recommendations made by the United States-based Feminist Alliance for Rights (FAR), which calls for a Feminist Policy on COVID-19 and outlines policy recommendations.
In a statement signed by over with nearly over 1100 individuals and women’s networks and organisations globally, FAR recognises key areas of focus that are central to the well-being of all with regard to food security, health care, education, social inequality, water and sanitation, economic inequality, violence against women, access to information, and abuse of power.
The group also puts forward further suggestions to address the challenges posed by the pandemic in a manner consistent with human rights standards and principles.