People participate in the Zagreb Pride Ride in support of LGBTQ groups in Zagreb, Croatia. (Sanjin Strukic/Pixsell via Xinhua/IANS). Image Source: IANS News

Brussels, May 17 : The European Union's (EU) foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell has highlighted the worsening situation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) people as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

"The Covid-19 pandemic has led to even higher levels of violence and discrimination against LGBTI persons, including domestic violence, hate speech online and offline, and hate crimes," the 74-year-old said on Sunday ahead of Monday's International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia.

He stressed that every human being is born free and equal and reaffirmed the EU's strong commitment to defend and promote human rights, including for LGBTI people, reports dpa news agency.

He said he was concerned that 69 countries criminalised loving relationships between people of the same sex and 11 countries even threatened the death penalty.

"The EU will continue to address discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, highlighting the vulnerable situation of LGBTI persons in the Covid-19 recovery and calling for fairer, more inclusive and sustainable society," Borrell said in the statement.

The International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia is observed every year on May 17.

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