UN chief urges governments to protect women during COVID-19 lockdown


UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres late on Sunday, April 06 urged governments around the world to include the protection of women as part of their response to the deadly novel coronavirus pandemic.

Prevention and redress of violence against women should be a key part of national response plans to curtail COVID-19, the UN chief said in a statement and video released in multiple languages, similar to his call for a ceasefire in conflicts worldwide amid the pandemic.

“Violence is not confined to the battlefield. For many women and girls, the threat looms largest where they should be safest. In their own homes,” Guterres said.

“Over the past weeks as economic and social pressures and fear have grown, we have seen a horrifying global surge in domestic violence. I urge all governments to make the prevention and redress of violence against women a key part of their national response plans for Covid-19,” he added.

India’s National Commission for Women reported that domestic abuse cases have doubled in number in the first week of nationwide movement restrictions.

French authorities have reported a rise of domestic abuse cases by a third in the week after the country’s lockdown.

Meanwhile, Australia reported a 75% increase in internet searches relating to support for domestic violence victims.

Guterres also called for setting up emergency warning systems in pharmacies and groceries, and for safe ways “for women to seek support, without alerting their abusers”.

“Together, we can and must prevent violence everywhere, from war zones to people’s homes, as we work to beat COVID-19,” he said, as he called “for peace at home – and in homes – around the world.” (Source: The Straits Times)