Kazakhstan: ‘Only together’ can ‘silent pandemic’ of gender-based violence be overcome, says Deputy UN chief |

This is the fourth stop on her Central Asia tour, having previously visited Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

Alliances must be built

“According to official statistics, one in three women has experienced domestic violence at some point in their lives,” said the United Nations Deputy Chief of Staff at a meeting with representatives of international organizations. civil society organizations related to Outstanding Initiativea joint program of the United Nations and the European Union to combat gender-based violence.

“Recently, especially in (COVID-19) pandemic, we’ve seen the sheer scale of this problem“She added.

“SDG 5 (reaching gender equality) is the key to achieving all the other SDGs,” she said. “If you count how many days an abused woman has to miss work, you can understand how the silent pandemic is negatively affecting the economy and GDP of any country. ”

The UN wants to hear first-hand from those who work with domestic violence victims in the field, to understand how to make the Spotlight Initiative more effective.

The local director of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Malika Zhusupova, told Ms. Mohammed about the difficulties her team faced.

The burden of evidence

There are legal loopholes that mean, for example, that a woman who accuses her husband of hitting her must provide the court with a doctor’s certificate that her injury forced her to lie down. hospital for at least 21 days.

And an accused rapist, can only be charged, on the basis of the testimony of doctors.

Very few women would agree to stay in hospital for so many days, leave their children behind, go to work. We sometimes have to struggle to prove that a woman suffers,” said Ms. Zhusupova.

The Deputy Secretary-General expressed the view that in such cases, NGOs should work closely with lawyers, parliamentarians and others to change or amend existing laws. and change the balance of power.

“The United Nations has worked this way in many parts of the world,” she said. “For example, in Latin America, and even in my homeland, there are many cases where a woman’s death at the hands of her husband is considered simple domestic violence in the courts. Here you need to form a coalition of your supporters from lawyers, congressmen, presidential palace, government, because it is always easier to work together.“, she speaks.

A view of Almaty in Kazakhstan.

© Unsplash / Alexander Serzhantov

A view of Almaty in Kazakhstan.


public fund executives, Daris – In 2016, Gulnur Idigeeva, speaking at the meeting, raised the issue of the psychological exhaustion faced by staff of NGOs helping victims of violence.

Unable to remain indifferent and psychologically calm after difficult life situations where victims of violence come to us“, she speaks.

“People can’t stand such psychological effects, and they give up. Are there any special training or services that can help survivors of violence go through recovery? ”

Amina Mohammad agrees that burnout is one of the most important issues that hasn’t been given enough attention.

Deputy Secretary General Amina Mohammed visited Kazakhstan, where she met with local NGOs.

“During my travels to different countries, I was shocked by the work of a woman who provided psychological support to victims of violence. I asked her how she coped with such a heavy moral burden, and she replied that it was the first time she had been asked such a question and that she was trying to find relief. support and strength to self-heal. ”

Ms. Mohammed said the Spotlight Initiative should now consider adding a psychological rehabilitation component to its program, for those working with victims of violence: “Well, Kazakhstan has proposed a new component to the UN program‘ she exclaimed.

Bringing men on planes

According to the UN Deputy Chief of Staff, it is important to involve local leaders, including men in positions of power, in efforts to end violence against women.

We need to organize a movement to create a society without violence,” said Ms. Mohammed, including some often seen as “masculine” types, to condemn such violence.

She said it was important to get young people “involved in this social movement, because we need to reach out to the next generation. Men need to be educated from an early age,” she suggested.

She said that the UN is planning to expand funding for the Spotlight Initiative, and not just through partners, the EU.

“Other countries have responded positively to our request for funding so that the Spotlight Program could be renewed. And now we need your support so that this silent pandemic that goes unnoticed can finally be completely eradicated,” she concluded.

High-level meetings

The Deputy Secretary-General also met President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev during his visit to Kazakhstan. The meeting covered a range of issues, including the Government’s efforts to make State institutions more people-centred, Kazakhstan’s Voluntary National Review of Plans to Help Limit Heat go global and climate change is consistent with Paris Agreementand plans to make a commitment to decarbonize by 2060.

The Deputy Secretary General also received Deputy Foreign Minister Akan Rakhmetullinas well as with the national team of the United Nations. From Kazakhstan, Amina Mohammed continued to Kyrgyzstan.

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