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CARICOM Secretary General calls for comprehensive, inclusive approaches to end violence against women

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Posted: Saturday, November 27, 2021. 10:28 am CST.

By Rubén Morales Iglesias: The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretary-General Dr. Carla Barnett made a call for comprehensive and inclusive policy approaches in addressing all forms of violence against girls and women as the regional body joined the world in observing the beginning of 16 Days of Activism Campaign Against Gender-Based Violence, on November 25.

According to a CARICOM press release, Dr. Barnett exhorted the people of the CARICOM to join in solidarity with the United Nations (UN) “Orange the World and End Violence against Women now” initiative.

The use of orange symbolizes a “brighter future for women and girls,” said the Secretary-General.

“This year’s observance highlights the disproportionate impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had and continues to have on women.”

Dr. Barnett quoted data that physical and/or sexual violence against women is so pervasive that one of three women experience it at some point in their lifetime and usually from an intimate partner. What’s worse she said is that data from five CARICOM Member States this type of violence is as high as one in every two women.

Dr. Barnett said the COVID-19 pandemic has made things worse since the violence against women and girls has escalated.

The world wasn’t prepared for it and has not been able to respond appropriately she said.

COVID-19 also exposed other inequalities that make violence more prevalent such as food insecurity, unemployment, the undue burden of paid and unpaid care work, and increased migration flows.

The Secretary-General expressed concern that loss of household income and school closure exposed adolescent girls to more sexual exploitation.

Dr. Barnett noted that according to “the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) maintains that globally 1 in 4 women was a child bride. UN Women reminds us that the economic fallout is expected to push 47 million more women and girls in Latin America and the Caribbean into extreme poverty in 2021, thereby reversing decades of hard-fought progress in our Region.”

She applauded women’s rights organizations, including civil society groups, that have defended women and girls facing these vulnerabilities which the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated.

She also commended the European Union (EU)-United Nations (UN) Spotlight Initiative for making significant progress in preventing and eliminating violence against women and girls, noting recent successes it achieved in capacity-building interventions targeting positive masculinity in men and boys, said the CARICOM statement.

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