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CARICOM Joins Belize in Sixteen Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence

Today marks the second of sixteen days of activism against gender-based violence. Speaking on the occasion was CARICOM’s Secretary General, Dr Carla Barnett. Her 5-minute address spoke on the importance of addressing inequalities and a range of issues that affect women and young girls.

Dr.Carla Barnett, CARICOM Secretariat: “The Caribbean Community joins with the global community observing this event. The company incorporates four important observances the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, on 25th November,  Human Rights Defenders day on 29th November, World AIDS day on 1st December and finally Human Rights Day on 10th December. This year’s theme is Orange the World End Violence Against Women No. We wear the color orange as a symbol of a brighter future for women and girls as we work towards ensuring that one day they will live lives free of violence. Globally one in three women has experienced physical and/or, sexual violence at some point in her lifetime usually from an intimate partner. In the Caribbean region prevalent surveys conducted between 2017 and 2019  in five CARICOM member states indicate incidence rates as high as one in two women. This year’s observance highlights the disproportionate impact the covid-19 pandemic has had and continues to have on women. The pandemic has resulted in the rapid escalation of all forms of violence against women and girls to which the world was unprepared to respond.”

Doctor Barnett went further to speak on the importance of embracing young women and push for progressive approaches that would eradicate the disadvantages currently experienced by women.

Dr.Carla Barnett, CARICOM Secretariat: “It has also laid bare several inequalities which are being manifested in risk factors for violence against women and girls. These include food insecurity, unemployment, undue burden of both paid and unpaid care work, increased migration flows, disability, abuse of elders and the threat of social unrest and disasters. The loss of household income and protracted school closures may also place adolescent girls at an increased risk of sexual exploitation, harassment, earl unions, and child marriage. The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund, UNICEF, maintains that globally one in four women was a child bride. UN Women reminds us that the economic fallout is expected to push 47 million more women and girls in Latin America and the Caribbean into extreme poverty in 2021 thereby reversing decades of hard-fought progress in our region. If we want to ensure that no woman or girl is left behind we need comprehensive and inclusive policy approaches that can be adapted to rapidly changing context. These must be aimed at preventing and responding to all forms of violence against women and girls.”