Displaced and stateless women and girls at heightened risk of gender-based violence in the coronavirus pandemic

Date: 
April, 2020

Amid Coronavirus pandemic the United Nations Refugee Agency said on Monday that the displaced women and girls are facing a heightened risk of gender-based violence during this crisis.

The UNHCR said they may be forced into “survival sex” or child marriages. Lockdowns imposed to control the spread of COVID-19 have restricted movement and led to the closure of services.

“We need to pay urgent attention to the protection of refugee, displaced and stateless women and girls at the time of this pandemic,” said Gillian Triggs, the UNHCR assistant high commissioner for protection.

“They are among those most at-risk. Doors should not be left open for abusers and no help spared for women surviving abuse and violence.” She said displaced women could end up confined with their abusers, while others, having lost their precarious livelihoods, “may be forced into survival sex, or child marriages by their families”, said Triggs.

The restrictions imposed in many countries in response to the coronavirus pandemic mean limited access to support services, said the UNHCR.

It also added that some safe shelters had been temporarily suspended.

Emergency cash is being distributed by the UNHCR to the survivors and women deemed to be at risk of gender-based violence.

Governments around the world must ensure that the “rising risks of violence” for displaced women are taken into account in their COVID-19 action plans, suggested Triggs.

Services for survivors of gender-based violence should be designated as essential and remain accessible to help them sail through the Coronavirus pandemic.

Earlier, the UN report launched on Thursday, highlighted that the COVID-19 pandemic is turning into a broader child-rights crisis as the social and economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic is potentially catastrophic for millions of children.

Source: The Statesman