21 Apr 2020 – NPWJ News Digest on FGM and Women's Rights

Articles

Domestic abuse against Palestinian women soars
AlJazeera, 21 Apr 2020

Banging pots and pans and waving homemade banners, scores of Palestinians have expressed their solidarity with women enduring various forms of domestic violence during a lockdown imposed due to the coronavirus pandemic. The initiative on Monday, which saw both women and men stand at their windows and balconies across the occupied Palestinian territories and historic Palestine, was aimed at shedding light on the plight of women who are locked down with their abusers.

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Statement by the UN Working Group on discrimination against women and girls - Responses to the COVID-19 pandemic must not discount women and girls
ReliefWeb, 20 Apr 2020

As governments attempt to tackle the unprecedented public health and economic crises caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, we are deeply concerned that women and girls are suffering even more egregious violations of their human rights. In the absence of gender sensitive intersectional responses, different forms of systemic discrimination already faced by women and girls will be exacerbated. The dramatic increase in women’s caregiving responsibilities, the rise in what was already an epidemic of sexual and domestic violence, the continued feminization of poverty, the proliferation of barriers to healthcare, especially pregnancy-related healthcare, will profoundly jeopardize women’s safety and well-being, economic security, and participation in political and public life, both during and after the pandemic. 

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Concerns over Polish government tightening abortion laws during Covid-19 crisis
The Guardian, 14 Apr 2020

Poland’s parliament will this week discuss a controversial proposal to tighten abortion laws in the country, as opposition politicians and women’s rights groups warn that the country’s conservative government may use the distraction of the coronavirus pandemic to push through the legislation. Poland already has some of the strictest legislation in Europe on abortion, and previous attempts to tighten the laws further were abandoned after mass protests in 2016. 

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Saudi Women Are Speaking Up Online
Human Rights Watch, 14 Apr 2020

Over the past two weeks, Saudi women have taken to Twitter, using pseudonyms, to share their experiences with sexual harassment, the reasons behind their hesitance to report these abuses to the authorities, and demands for the abolition of the discriminatory male guardianship system. It is a remarkable show of courage at a time when Saudi authorities – under the de facto rule of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman – have maintained a sweeping campaign of repression that included dismantling and silencing the country’s women’s rights movement. 

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Some governments are using coronavirus to restrict women's rights
AlJazeera, 14 Apr 2020

Women are prominent on the front lines of the world's response to the coronavirus pandemic. Globally, most of our health workers are women. They also do most of the world's unpaid care work - even in "normal times" - taking care of relatives and helping them recuperate both from extraordinary illnesses and everyday exhaustion. And yet, the rights of these women are coming under historic attacks even now. 

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