Video message by António Guterres (UN Secretary-General) on Gender-Based Violence and COVID-19.
The COVID-19 pandemic is causing untold human suffering and economic devastation around the world.
I recently called for an immediate global ceasefire to focus on our shared struggle to overcome the pandemic.
I appealed for an end to violence everywhere, now.
But violence is not confined to the battlefield.
For many women and girls, the threat looms largest where they should be safest.
In their own homes.
And so I make a new appeal today for peace at home — and in homes — around the world.
We know lockdowns and quarantines are essential to suppressing COVID-19. But they can trap women with abusive partners.
Over the past weeks as economic and social pressures and fear have grown, we have seen a horrifying global surge in domestic violence.
In some countries, the number of women calling support services has doubled.
Meanwhile, healthcare providers and police are overwhelmed and understaffed.
Local support groups are paralyzed or short of funds. Some domestic violence shelters are closed; others are full.
I urge all governments to make the prevention and redress of violence against women a key part of their national response plans for COVID-19.
That means increasing investment in online services and civil society organizations.
Making sure judicial systems continue to prosecute abusers.
Setting up emergency warning systems in pharmacies and groceries.
Declaring shelters as essential services.
And creating safe ways for women to seek support, without alerting their abusers.
Women’s rights and freedoms are essential to strong, resilient societies.
Together, we can and must prevent violence everywhere, from war zones to people’s homes, as we work to beat COVID-19.
In This Story: António Guterres
António Manuel de Oliveira Guterres GCC GCL is a Portuguese politician and diplomat serving as the ninth secretary-general of the United Nations. A member of the Portuguese Socialist Party, he served as prime minister of Portugal from 1995 to 2002.
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In This Story: COVID-19
Covid-19 is the official WHO name given to the novel coronavirus which broke out in late 2019 and began to spread in the early months of 2020.
Symptoms of coronavirus
The main symptoms of coronavirus are:
- a persistent new cough (non productive, dry)
- a high temperature (e.g. head feels warm to the touch)
- shortness of breath (if this is abnormal for the individual, or increased)
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Below are stories from around the globe related to the 2020 outbreak of novel Coronavirus – since the WHO gave the Covid-19 naming. Most recent items are posted nearest the top.