The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Arab States is gearing up to host an online conference to help educate the region’s journalists on the links between COVID-19 and gender-based violence (GBV). The event aims to teach the region’s media how best to shine a light on the phenomena, while respecting and protecting survivors.
“Organizations working to combat gender-based violence worldwide have issued an unsettling amount of reports showing that more violence is occurring against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said UNFPA Regional Director, Arab States Luay Shabeneh.
“Given that many of these reports have come from Arab States organizations, it is vital for journalists in the region to not only increase coverage of this issue but to do so in a professional, survivor-centered manner.”
The one hour online event will take place on June 18, one day ahead of the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict. The conversation will cover the underlying connections between health crises, gender equality, and gender-based violence, and explore how COVID-19 has exacerbated GBV risk factors.
UNFPA data estimates that the COVID-19 pandemic has led to an additional three million cases of gender-based violence recorded for every three months of lockdown. As a result, the UN agency says the pandemic “is likely to cause a one-third reduction in progress towards ending gender-based violence by 2030.”
“For journalists who report on social justice and human rights, raising public awareness on the mounting challenges facing women and girls during this pandemic becomes increasingly crucial, especially given that a crisis of this magnitude can often reveal many of the underlying inequalities within communities,” the UNFPA explained.
Award-winning journalist and communications entrepreneur Suzanne Afanah will moderate the discussion that will bring together journalists, rights activists, and service providers. She will be joined by the likes of Lebanese journalist Jouma Haddad and Jordanian reporter Nadine Nimri, who will provide real-life insights into reporting on GBV in their respective homelands.
The event will stream live on the UNFPA Arabic Facebook page from 12:00 p.m. until 1:00 p.m. Amman time (9:00 a.m. until 10:00 a.m. GMT).