Thursday, November 25, marks the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (EVAW). Marking the day, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) has called for solidarity and commitment to end violence against women and girls.
In a statement, UNAMA said gender-based violence continues to be a serious threat to women and girls and a major obstacle in the way of achieving lasting sustainable development and peace.
Pointing to the spread of COVID-19 and the humanitarian crisis, UNAMA said “violence against women has been worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic and the humanitarian crisis.”
According to the UN office, globally one in three women has experienced physical or sexual violence and “mostly by an intimate partner.”
The rate of violence against women and girls in Afghanistan is the highest in the world, according to UNAMA, with “9 out of 10 women experiencing at least one form of intimate partner violence in their lifetime,” the statement reads.
The UN Secretary General Special Envoy to Afghanistan, Deborah Lyons, said people must take action to end the violence and called on the international community to listen to the voices and experiences of Afghan women and urgently respond to their needs. “We must act together to tackle this shadow pandemic. The violence should be prevented, we must change attitudes that shame survivors and support violence, we must support services for survivors,” she said.
According to the UN office in Kabul, the recent restrictions against women in Afghanistan, especially the restrictions on their right to work and education, has increased the level of violence against them.
“The message we receive from our partners and women across the country is clear - violence against women that was already at alarming levels, has been exacerbated by both crisis and COVID-19. And yet, lifesaving services for women survivors of violence have closed on account of fear of being targeted,” said Alison Davidian, UN Women Country Representative in Afghanistan.
The UN has said violence against women is a big hurdle in the way of efforts for peace and sustainable development that is necessary for Afghanistan. It has called on all people to play their role in ending the violence which cause women and girls not be able to use their full potential for prosperity of the country.
EVAW--End Violence Against Women--is a 16-day period each year to raise awareness against gender-based violence. It starts on November 25, the international day for EVAW, and ends on 10 December, Human Rights Day.