Webinar 5: Women’s rights during the pandemic

Women have borne the brunt of lockdown measures around the world. Our discussion will contextualise the rise in gender-based violence and look at how women human rights defenders are responding.

Professor Christine Chinkin, LSE academic and member of the Alliance for Lawyers at Risk

Rachael Mwikali, feminist and coordinator of the Grassroots Human Rights Defenders Coalition, Kenya

Katherine Ronderos, former director of LIMPAL Colombia and consultant and National Expert at Particip Gmb

Mandira Sharma, human rights lawyer and co-founder of Nepalese legal organisation Advocacy Forum

01/07/2020 at 17:00 (GMT+1)

Government responses to the crisis such as curfews have had a disproportionate impact on women and girls. UNICEF has spoken of the ‘shadow pandemic’ of domestic violence, while the National Council for the Administration of Justice reported a spike in the number of sexual offences in the first three weeks of the crisis, constituting 36% of all crimes reported.

We are currently working with a network of twelve grassroots women human rights defenders in five urban settlements in Nairobi, who have been monitoring cases of sexual and gender based violence in the city. They have reported police turning down victims of these crimes on the grounds that it is ‘non-urgent’, and health institutions neglecting victims on the basis that the virus is more important. We will be hearing from Rachel Mwikali on the topic of gender-based violence and coronavirus in Kenya.

The outbreak has only made things worse for women human rights defenders in Colombia. Paramilitaries have ignored lockdown measures and have been targeting defenders trapped in their houses, particularly those working on environmental issues. Katherine Ronderos will guide us through the situation in Colombia, trends in repression, and what people are doing about it.

LSE academic Professor Christine Chinkin will lead the discussion, which will also feature Mandira Sharma on the situation as it affects her organisation and women in Nepal, a country whose experience of institutionalised gender-based violence has only worsened since the pandemic.

Register for this webinar