During the 76th session of the United Nations’ Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), representatives of 28 NGOs spoke out about the harmful effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the situation of women in a number of countries. Human rights activists raised issues of intersectional discrimination of representatives of particular groups: women from ethnic minorities, migrants, activists, LBTI+ and HIV-positive women.
Anti-Discrimination Centre “Memorial” drew attention to the problems faced by women in Kyrgyzstan: aggravation of domestic violence, which was further complicated by the inability for women to escape from their violators and use the possibility of staying in shelters organized by crisis centers, the problems of poverty and women’s economic dependency, limited access to medical services, and harm to their sexual and reproductive health.
Health workers (of which over 80% are women) face higher health risks, they are forced to work in hazardous conditions in lower-paid jobs. About a quarter of all persons infected with COVID-19 in Kyrgyzstan were medical workers.
Working migrant women found themselves in a particularly vulnerable situation: having lost their work abroad, they could not provide for themselves and could not continue to send money home, which has led to numerous suicide attempts.
In their oral statement to the UN CEDAW session, various NGOs called on governments to take urgent measures to overcome the ongoing crisis, while taking into account its gender dimension and the priority of socio-economic rights, with a special focus on the problems faced by victims of multiple discrimination and representatives of marginalized groups.