Domestic violence against women and girls all over the world has risen during the COVID-19 pandemic, the United Nations peacekeeping force in Lebanon's commander, Stefano Del Col, said on Wednesday.
“The pandemic has also increased, globally, the levels of domestic and sex and gender-based violence to unprecedented levels," Del Col said.
Del Col was addressing a ceremony in Naqora to mark International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.
“More than ever, women and girls need protection and security,” said Del Col.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a severe social and economic impact in the communities and deepened the existing inequalities, including gender inequality, Del Col said.
“Violence against women and girls is malice that we as humanity should persevere to eliminate NOW."
Speaking at the start of 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence campaign at UNIFIL's headquarters in Naqoura, Del Col praised Lebanon's National Commission for Lebanese Women and its president Claudine Aoun, who also attended the ceremony.
Del Col also saluted NCLW and Aoun for adopting Lebanon’s National Action Plan to implement the landmark Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security.
“UNIFIL is proud to support you in your efforts and work with you for a better future for Lebanese women and girls,” he added.
UNIFIL which is headquartered in South Lebanon, has been working with local social development centres and sex and gender-based violence working groups to prevent and respond to domestic violence incidents, Del Col said. The UN mission is creating safe spaces for victimized women, and by engaging first responders in socio-psychological training, he said.
“Protection, security and economic growth of women and girls is at the centre of the UN for a more peaceful and prosperous world that leaves no one behind," Del Col underlined.
A global campaign to eliminate violence against women, under the theme “Orange the World: Unite to End Violence Against Women,” is part of the UNiTE campaign to end violence against women and girls. Launched in 2008, the initiative aims to raise public awareness of the issue as well as increase both policymaking and resources on the issue.