Today begins the global 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence (GBV) (25 November-10 December). On this occasion, the United Nations System in Lebanon, the Sexual and Gender-based Violence Taskforce (SGBV TF) and the National Commission for Lebanese Women (NCLW) are joining forces, to end and prevent gender-based violence in the country.
As we mark 25 years of the adoption of the Beijing Platform for Action the year 2020 is an important milestone for gender equality and work on preventing and ending violence against women and girls. As the world imposed lockdown measures to curb the COVID-19 pandemic, reports showed an alarming increase in the already existing pandemic of violence against women. In Lebanon, also, findings in 2020 showed that the COVID-19 lockdown has contributed to an increase in different forms of GBV in particular, as experienced by women and girls. This was exacerbated by the Beirut explosion on August 4, 2020 which has indicated that women and girls are more vulnerable to such shocks, that the risk of violence has increased for them, with an even more limited access to basic services and needs, such as health services and food, and that gender must remain at the forefront of Beirut's humanitarian response.
This year, the United Nations system in Lebanon, the SGBV TF and the NCLW are implementing a campaign articulated around the theme "Safety from violence is everyone's right: safety at home, safety at work, safety on the streets, safety online, and safe reporting". It focuses on ensuring the safety of women and girls anywhere and anytime, from all types of GBV and abuse, whether verbal, physical, emotional or sexual. We are here referring to all women and girls, including Lebanese, residents in Lebanon and refugees, domestic workers, LGBTQI, and girls and women with disabilities.
This campaign calls for zero tolerance towards violence against women and girls and draws attention to everyone's role - including women, men, boys, and girls, community leaders, policy makers and law enforcement officials - in preventing all forms of violence. In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, humanitarian actors and security forces are more than ever responsible to provide assistance to survivors of violence.