The UN on Wednesday called for concerted efforts to eliminate gender-based violence (GBV) in Somalia and to make services more accessible to women and girls.
James Swan, UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia said since the outbreak of COVID-19, emerging data and reports from those on the frontlines have shown that all types of violence against women and girls, particularly domestic violence, have intensified and Somalia has not been spared from this scourge.
“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,” Swan said in a statement issued as 16 Days of Activism against GBV campaign which will end on Thursday.
Throughout the 16 day period, Swan said 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.
The UN’s activities include awareness campaigns, public debates and workshops, round-table discussions, and advocacy in relation to the legislation of sexual offences.
According to Swan, COVID-19 cases across the globe have strained health services and essential services in helping GBV survivors, as domestic violence shelters and helplines have reached capacity.
In Somalia, the UN envoy said, the GBV Information Management System data indicated an escalation in GBV cases during COVID-19.
According to the UN, women and girls with disabilities require priority attention as they are at greater risk of experiencing discrimination, exploitation and violence.