Incidents of violence against women increase in Pakistan

Islamabad: The Aurat Foundation, a non-governmental organisation working for womens rights in Pakistan, has said that the COVID-19 pandemic has severely affected women in the country.

“Incidents of violence against women have risen,” Dawn news quoted Yasmeen Mughal, project officer of Jazba programme, as saying on Sunday.

She said the pandemic had severely affected women involved in economic activities in the country and significant steps were needed to be taken to facilitate them at the governmental and non-governmental levels.

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Mughal said that Aurat Foundation and the South Asia Partnership would take joint steps for effective participation of women in economic and political processes at the district level under the Jazba project and attention would be paid for making laws for women’s individual and constitutional rights.

Shortly after the pandemic hit Pakistan, the Women Action Forum (WAF) had urged the government to take certain measures to prevent and respond to incidents of domestic violence that may rise during the lockdown period.

According to a UN report issued in April, domestic violence helplines and shelters across the world have registered rising calls for help.

In Argentina, Canada, France, Germany, Spain, the UK, and the US, government authorities, women’s rights activists and civil society partners have flagged increasing reports of domestic violence during the crisis, and heightened demand for emergency shelter.

Even before COVID-19 existed, domestic violence was already one of the greatest human rights violations, acording to the report.

In the previous 12 months, 243 million women and girls (aged 15-49) across the world have been subjected to sexual or physical violence by an intimate partner.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, this number was likely to grow with multiple impacts on women’s wellbeing, their sexual and reproductive health, their mental health, and their ability to participate and lead in the recovery of our societies and economy, the report added.

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