Urgent Call to Address Gender-based Violence in Syria [EN/AR]

Amman, 25 November 2017 The United Nations is calling for greater action to address gender-based violence and its prevention in Syria.

“Gender-based violence continues to undermine the health, dignity, security and autonomy of its victims in Syria,” Panos Moumtzis, the Regional Humanitarian Coordinator (RHC) for the Syria Crisis,” said in marking the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women on Saturday. “It’s imperative we do more.”

“In times of crisis, the incidence and severity of these forms of violence may increase and we are seeing that many women, girls, boys and men are suffering as a result of the conflict in Syria,” Dan Baker, Syria Regional and Response Advisor for the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) said. “We need to support the survivors and work to prevent the occurrences.”

Close to seven years since the start of the crisis, sexual violence and other forms of gender-based violence continues to remain a major source of concern in the daily lives of women, men, girls and boys across Syria; with women and girls reporting being in fear of sexual violence, often associated with abduction.

According to the 2018 Humanitarian Needs Overview (HNO) released on 21 November, gender-based violence, particularly verbal harassment, domestic violence (including family violence against women and girls), child marriages and the fear of sexual violence, including sexual harassment, continues to pervade the lives of Syrian women and girls inside and outside the home.

Gender-based violence, along with harmful practices, such as child marriage and female genital mutilation, are human rights violations that rob women and girls of their futures and undermine their health and well-being are strictly prohibited by international human rights law including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

“In marking the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, the UN unequivocally condemns all violence targeting women and girls across Syria and calls on all parties to prevent these violations,” the RHC said. He also urged that all perpetrators be held accountable and ensure that survivors receive the medical, legal and psychosocial support they so urgently need. “Anything less is simply unacceptable,” the RHC said.

According to UNFPA, violence against women and girls is the most pervasive human rights abuse in the world, affecting every country and community. One in three women will experience some form of abuse in her lifetime. Gender-based violence includes everything from psychological abuse and economic deprivation to battery, rape and denial of freedom.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:
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