Safe spaces to protect women and girls from violence arranged as part of the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative in Kyrgyzstan
BISHKEK, 30 April 2020 - The Spotlight Initiative in the Kyrgyz Republic allocates USD 200 000 to help address the issue of increased violence against women and girls during the COVID-19 outbreak in the country. The Spotlight Initiative aims to cover urgent needs of women and girls, affected by violence or at risk of violence in the current circumstances of physical isolation and increased economic and social pressures.
In Kyrgyzstan during the quarantine, the number of cases of domestic violence increased by 65%. Compared to the same period from March 24 to April 24, 2019, in Bishkek 100 facts were registered, this year 162 facts. This message was channeled to the Commandant of Bishkek, Members of Parliament and Ministry of social development of KR. With the support of the Spotlight Initiative, temporary short-term safe spaces are arranged for women and girls subjected to violence. In addition, technical support is provided to the Government to finalize the guide and instructions of an algorithm for a multi-sectoral response to GBV (health, social services, law, police, justice, and humanitarian settings), Emergency GBV mobile groups will be created to support women. And also the work is done to coordinate on-line psychosocial services during COVID-19, and referral telephone mechanisms of hot-lines linked with the crisis centers.
“For many women and girls, the threat looms largest where they should be safest. In their own homes. It is critical to urgently address the increase of violence against women during COVID-19 pandemic through the collective efforts of the Government, international partners, civil society, media, and everyone of us. Women’s rights and freedoms are essential to strong, resilient societies,” says Ozonnia Ojielo, UN Resident Coordinator in the Kyrgyz Republic.
“We take note of the increase of domestic and gender-based violence during these difficult times in Kyrgyzstan, therefore we are adapting the Spotlight Initiative to address this issue. Together with the United Nations, our implementing partner in Kyrgyzstan, we will work with local partners among the civil society and government to help those affected by violence and contribute to a safe environment for women and girls,” Head of European Union Delegation to the Kyrgyz Republic Eduard Auer says.
In more detail, the Spotlight Initiative will support a civil society-led advocacy campaign for the prevention of gender-based and domestic violence during COVID-19. The programme will invest in awareness-raising digital campaigns, led by local-level youth and women activists, on preventive measures in the context of COVID-19.
The programme also aims to help the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic provide improved multi-sectoral and coordinated services to those affected by violence, by elaborating new formats that enable the undisrupted provision of services, including via online means, during the lockdown.
Special attention and support will be given to the access of women to the safe spaces and the continuity of essential services during the crisis. The Spotlight Initiative team also aims to provide support to the Government in overall mainstreaming the issues of gender-based violence into the national COVID-19 response plans. The team continues working with the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic and the civil society to develop better solutions on the elimination of violence against women and girls during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In January 2020, in partnership with the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic, the EU and UN have launched a multi-year country programme under the global Spotlight Initiative on eliminating all forms of violence against women and girls.
The programme’s vision is to create an environment where all women and girls in Kyrgyzstan, particularly those most vulnerable, live a life free of violence and harmful practices, including child marriage and ala kachuu. The programme comprises a set of integrated interventions in the areas of policies and legislation, strengthening institutions, prevention of violence, provision of services to survivors of violence, collecting quality data, and supporting women’s movement and civil society. The programme is implemented by five UN agencies (UN Women, UNFPA, UNDP, UNICEF and UNODC) under the overall leadership of the UN Resident Coordinator in the Kyrgyz Republic.