Pakistan Reported Highest Incidence of Violence against Women during Peak of Pandemic in 2020: Report
ANI - Islamabad, Pakistan, 2/13/2021
During the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic during January and December in 2020, when people were forced to stay inside their homes, Pakistan reported 2,297 cases of violence against women from 25 districts across the country. The Aurat Foundation (a women’s rights NGO based in Pakistan) revealed the grim data in its report titled, “Violence against women and girls in the time of COVID 19 pandemic” in collaboration with an NGO under the project Jazba Democracy and Empowerment. The research is based on a review of data on the incidents of violence against women collected from various newspapers in Pakistan, which was verified by local police in 25 selected districts.
Hundreds Rally in Nepalese Capital for Women's Rights
Outlook - Kathmandu, Nepal, 2/12/2021
Hundreds of women's right activists and their supporters rallied in Nepal's capital, Kathmandu on February 12, 2021 to call for an end to violence and discrimination against women and the scrapping of a proposed law that would restrict travel for many women. The protesters marching in the heart of Kathmandu chanted slogans demanding equality. They pointed to the proposed law that would require women under age 40 to get permission from their family and local government to travel to the Middle East or Africa as a violation of human rights. The government has defended the regulation by claiming it would help stop human trafficking, pointing out that it is just a proposal and not a law.
After 1,000 Days in Prison, Saudi Women’s Rights Activist Released
The Quint, Saudi Arabia, 2/11/2021
One of Saudi Arabia’s most prominent women’s rights activists Loujain al-Hathloul was released on February 10, 2021 after more than 1,000 days in prison. The activist Al-Hathloul has been arrested on several occasions for defying the ban on women driving in Saudi Arabia. According to the state-linked news website Sabq, she was reportedly found guilty by Saudi Arabia’s anti-terrorism court on charges of “using the internet to harm public order and cooperating with individuals and entities that have committed crimes under anti-terror laws.” Her early release comes at a time when Saudi Arabia is facing extensive scrutiny by the United States, where the president has committed to reassess both countries' relationships and also stand up for human rights and democratic principles.
India’s Spending on Women’s Safety ‘Grossly Inadequate’: Oxfam
Al Jazeera, India, 2/10/2021
In a report analysing India’s budgetary commitment to boosting women’s safety, Oxfam India said that state spending to combat violence against women and girls is ‘grossly inadequate.’ They reported that funds reserved for setting up helplines, opening crisis centres and introducing gender-sensitisation training for officials remain unspent. The report analysed India’s budget from 2018 to 2020 and found that the country was spending just Rs 30 per woman annually to fight gender-based violence. For 80 million girls and women who are and have been victims of sexual violence, the budget allocation reached Rs 102 per head. Amita Pitre, lead specialist for gender justice at Oxfam India said, “You would expect more would be done for their food security, social protection and to address the violence they suffer, but you don’t see it.”
Thailand Legalises Early Abortions; Pro-Choice Groups Want More
Al Jazeera, Thailand, 2/9/2021
Thailand's government has passed changes to the country’s criminal code, giving women abortion rights during their first trimester of pregnancy. Jihan Jacob, a senior legal adviser for Asia with the Center for Reproductive Rights said that though it is a positive development to have some legal grounds that allow abortion, it is not enough to ensure that all women have access to abortion rights and that their reproductive rights are advanced. The amendments approved by the legislators will leave the decision entirely to the women in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Between 12 and 20 weeks, women can seek abortion services under the old rules or if there is no alternative.