End gender-based violence: UN

Diplomatic Correspondent

15 July, 2020 12:00 AM printer

The Covid-19 has sparked a pandemic of gender-based violence and discrimination against women that requires urgent action, say UN and regional experts on violence against women and women's rights.

As countries imposed lockdowns to fight the health pandemic, the world saw “dramatic increases in cases of domestic violence, including violence by intimate partners, sexual violence and femicide,” the seven experts said on Tuesday in a joint statement issued in Geneva.

“The global response to the Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted existing gaps and deep-rooted gender-based discrimination,” they said.

They also said restrictions on the provision of health and reproductive health services, increased domestic and unpaid care responsibilities, and the burden of providing for the basic needs of family life were taking an additional on both the physical and mental wellbeing of women everywhere.

“The closure of schools poses an additional problem, with millions of girls being kept at home, heightening the risk of sexual exploitation, early pregnancies, rape, early marriages, forced marriages and female genital mutilation,” they said.

“As the world struggles to contain the Covid-19 pandemic, we call on all states to seize the opportunity to ‘build back better’ by reinforcing and expanding efforts they have already made to promote and protect the rights of women in all spheres of life,” the experts said.