As 16 days of activism against gender-based violence ends, UN in Somalia highlights need for continued action

9 Dec 2020

As 16 days of activism against gender-based violence ends, UN in Somalia highlights need for continued action

Mogadishu – As the annual 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence (GBV) campaign comes to an end in Somalia, the United Nations envoy to the country today highlighted the need for continued efforts to eliminate such violence and to make GBV services more accessible to Somali women and girls.

“Since the outbreak of COVID-19, emerging data and reports from those on the front lines have shown that all types of violence against women and girls, particularly domestic violence, has intensified and Somalia has not been spared from this scourge,” said the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia, James Swan.

“Regardless of any progress made against the pandemic, more needs to be done to prioritize addressing violence against women during the COVID-19 response and recovery efforts, and this includes funding to fill gaps in service provision and raising awareness and ensuring accountability,” he added.

Around the globe, COVID-19 cases have strained health services and essential services in helping GBV survivors, such as domestic violence shelters and helplines, have reached capacity. Data indicates that 243 million women and girls were abused by an intimate partner or family member over the past year and these numbers may potentially increase during the pandemic response. 

In Somalia, the GBV Information Management System data indicates an escalation in GBV cases during COVID-19. In particular, women and girls with disabilities require priority attention as they are at greater risk of experiencing discrimination, exploitation and violence.

The annual campaign, which kicked off on 25 November, on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, runs to 10 December, Human Rights Day. The theme for this year’s observance is ‘Orange the World: Fund, Respond, Prevent, Collect!’

Throughout the 16 day period, UN agencies in Somalia have worked with the government and civil society to highlight the need for ending GBV and ensuring essential services for survivors of violence during the COVID-19 crisis. Their activities include awareness campaigns, public debates and workshops, round-table discussions, and advocacy in relation to legislation of sexual offences.