Meenakshi Menon | South Asia Program Analyst | iProbono
Sharin Shahjahan Naomi | Asian University Fir Women | Bangladesh
Jawziya F. Zaman | Legal Aid Office/Legal Aid Society | Pakistan
Amina Gillani | Specialist on Child Rights | United Kingdom
Shanuki De Alwis | Brand Purpose Storyteller and Theater Practitioner | Sri Lanka
The global Covid-19 lockdown has propelled many collective issues like migrant worker’s rights, violence against women, child abuse and right to food under the global radar; but the humiliations and violations these communities face are preexisting and largely systemic, resulting from the lack of basic protection frameworks. The true extent of the violations, economic repercussions and lasting impact caused by the pandemic can be truly measured and understood only in the coming years. In this context, CSOs including iProbono are adapting their work plan and areas of interventions to respond to these issues and develop strategies to create a sustainable protection framework for such vulnerable communities. Governments globally are imploring their citizens to stay at home to fight the spread of the pandemic but does the system consider the associated gendered risks and vulnerabilities of women confined to violent homes? Striking gaps in post-colonial legal frameworks make it difficult for vulnerable women to access social safety nets and this pervasive harm is hyper-visible during crises like the current pandemic (Covid-19). The UN has described the worldwide increase in domestic violence against women as a ‘shadow pandemic’ alongside Covid. Through this session, we aim to provide a regional platform to share common concerns and best practices on combating domestic violence in South Asia.
During this session our presenters will engage with the audience on key issues including (1) preexisting lack of social security framework for women which heightens during a crisis from a social and policy perspective; (2) the strengths and weaknesses of laws protecting women against domestic violence; (3) designing effective interventions for vulnerable communities in the face of a crisis (4) the challenges and success stories in handling domestic violence cases during the Covid-19 lockdown and (5) Exploring solutions through civic education, capacity building among first responders and advocacy efforts to shift social perceptions.