UNAMA calls violence against women in Afghanistan a 'shadow pandemic'

United Nations in Afghanistan has urged everyone to take concrete actions to end violence against women on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (EVAW)

Nov 25, 2021
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UNAMA calls violence against women in Afghanistan (Photo: ANI)

United Nations in Afghanistan has urged everyone to take concrete actions to end violence against women on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (EVAW). This year's theme for the International Day for EVAW is "Orange the World: End Violence against Women Now!". According to a statement released by UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), gender-based violence continues to be a serious threat to women and girls and a major obstacle to achieving lasting sustainable development and peace.

Referring to the ‘shadow pandemic’, the UNAMA said the violence against women has worsened by the Covid-19 pandemic and the humanitarian crisis. It further said one in every three women has experienced physical or sexual violence globally, mostly by their intimate partner.

Afghanistan has one of the highest rates of violence against women globally, with nine out of ten women experiencing at least one form of intimate partner violence in their lifetime, it added.

Deborah Lyons, Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Afghanistan, said, “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."

The UNAMA called the global community to listen to the voices and experiences of women and girls in Afghanistan and give immediate respond to their needs of them, especially the survivors of violence and those who face multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination.

Due to restrictions on women and girls’ rights and freedoms in Afghanistan, particularly women’s right to work and their freedom of movement, the violence against women and girls in the country has risen.

“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.

Women and girls living in fear hold back all past and current efforts for peace and sustainable development that is necessary for Afghanistan.

Alison said, “Violence at home affects everyone – women and girls, men and boys, families and communities, societies and economies, in Afghanistan and around the world. Gender-based violence has devastating impacts on women’s physical and mental health.

"It limits their potential to prosper and to lead free and equal lives. Now more than ever we need to respond to the needs of women and girls’ survivors of violence and ensure their unimpeded access to life saving services including shelter, health care and counselling. These services are life-saving."
(SAM)