UN urges action to end gender-based violence in humanitarian settings

Volkan Bozkir, president of the seventy-fifth session of the United Nations General Assembly, chairs the first plenary meeting. UN Photo

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SULAIMANI — During the United Nation General Assembly (UNGA) virtual high-level event on sexual and gender-based violence on Tuesday (September 29) nearly 1,000 delegates, who participated in it, urged action to end SGBV in humanitarian settings.

The event was convened by the governments of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Norway, and Somalia, in coordination with United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA), the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

The aim of the event was to follow up on the progress made since the conference of End Sexual Gender-Based Violence (#EndSGBV), which was held in Oslo in May 2019.

“Sexual and gender-based violence affects one in three women and girls globally. In some humanitarian settings, this figure is estimated to be two in three. The consequences are devastating for individuals, families and communities alike, costing the world an estimated 2 per cent of its annual GPD,” UNFPA said in a report.

During the event, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and Ezidi activist Nadia Murad, addressed delegates and said that even though ISIS no longer control Sinjar but “thousands of Yizidis still face sexual violence every day at the hands of ISIS”, adding that despite investigation, evidence, and testimonies by survivors, “Justice has yet be served.”

Nadia Murad was abducted along with thousands of other Ezidi men, women, and children from Sinjar district by Islamic State (ISIS) militants in August 2014.

“Over 2,800 Yazidi women and children are still missing and in captivity.” She said.

“Part of healing is addressing impunity and the political blindness that does not react when women are damaged and in danger,” said UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Natalia Kanem.

“The psychosocial consequences need to be taken seriously,” she said, adding that more invest is needed in social work and legal counseling for women and girl who have faced violence.

“COVID-19 has set back progress, and we see a surge in gender-based violence around the world,” said Dr. Kanem.

(NRT Digital Media)