On 25 November, the world marks the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and the EU globally and Team Europe in Kenya stand in full support of this year’s theme: “Orange the World: End Violence against Women Now!” Human rights, freedom and democracy, and equality represent core values that make the European Union what it is, and freedom from violence is an inseparable component of these values.
Women and girls are disproportionately affected by violence, especially during conflicts, humanitarian crises and increasing climate-related disasters. Around the world, the COVID-19 lockdowns have led to a dramatic increase in gender-based violence, in particular domestic violence. A high level of gender based violence also prevents women from fully taking part in economic and political life.
Moreover, a significant part of the additional care burden arising due to COVID-19 has fallen on women and girls, both at home and in the healthcare sector. Workers in the informal economy and in low-skilled jobs most of whom are women, migrants, and those belonging to minorities have been more at risk of losing their jobs and being exposed to the Coronovirus and face multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination. The closure of schools have exposed girls to an increased risk of sexual exploitation, early pregnancy, child labour, and forced marriage. This affects Kenya as well as European and all other states, as no country has achieved gender equality or eradicated gender-based violence yet.
The EU commends the leadership shown by Kenya in ending gender-based violence and the ambitious commitments announced in July in Paris on the occasion of the Generation Equality Forum towards eliminating female genital mutilation (FGM) by next year.
In this context, the EU Ambassadors in Kenya support the United Nation’s efforts to embark on 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence, from 25 November to 10 December. Follow the EU in Kenya pages for more information in the coming days.