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Whither Now? IPFN to mobilize Faith Leaders and Activists to address Gender-based Violence


September 03, Lalitpur-

Interfaith Peace Federation Nepal (IPFN) conducted a 2-day training for faith leaders and activists/NGO workers last week. Global scenario was reviewed and ut was found that even developed countries like France, GBV has incresaed at an alarming rate. Also, another very concerning report was that of sexual mutilation which mostly took place in North and Central Africa.

The programme also reviewed the 17 points of Sustainable Development Goal, which is a global agendum, whereby all countries are to incorporate the goals in their national planning . “Leave no one behind”- the slogan of SDG, calls for a committed and concerted effort by all the countries. The SDGs, also known as the Global Goals, were adopted by the United Nations in 2015 as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that by 2030 all people enjoy peace and prosperity. The 17 SDGs are integrated—they recognize that action in one area will affect outcomes in others, and that development must balance social, economic and environmental sustainability.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights was taken as the founding international document , which later gave rise to other conventions and covenants increasingly including most of the vulnerable people groups in terms of their protection and rights.

Faith leaders, NGO workers and rights/media activists came together in groups to brain-storm on the most effective ways to address the issues identified the day before, and submitted their plan of action and recommendations.

The main challenge IPFN, and any onther such entities face is in the implemetation of the plan of action and recommendations. They need to saturate at the local level.

UNWOMEN also concluded similarly in its April 2021 report: As more countries report infection and lockdown, more domestic violence helplines and shelters across the world are reporting rising calls for help. In Argentina, Canada, France, Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States, government authorities, women’s rights activists and civil society partners have flagged increasing reports of domestic violence during the crisis, and heightened demand for emergency shelter. Helplines in Singapore and Cyprus have registered an increase in calls by more than 30 per cent. In Australia, 40 per cent of frontline workers in a New South Wales survey reported increased requests for help with violence that was escalating in intensity.

Confinement is fostering the tension and strain created by security, health, and money worries.And it is increasing isolation for women with violent partners, separating them from the people and resources that can best help them. It’s a perfect storm for controlling, violent behaviour behind closed doors. And in parallel, as health systems are stretching to breaking point, domestic violence shelters are also reaching capacity, a service deficit made worse when centres are repurposed for additional COVID-response.

As a represnetative of the media, activism, faith community, and also as one getting more and more active in political ideological deliberations, the scribe himself was forced to review, assess and internalize the new data and chalenges presented.

“Finally, it is incumbent upon all- from the state and legal mechanism to the faith and community leaders to the individual to be more respectful of the human rights and human dignity of each individual,” facilitator Nishi Shrestha underlined.




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