VIOLENCE. A recent report released by the Norwegian Refugee Council and the UNHCR, UN Refugee Agency-led Global Protection Cluster (GPC) finds that millions of people internally displaced or affected by conflict could be missing out on humanitarian protection support due to insufficient funding.
GPC data indicates that of the 54 million people targeted for assistance in 26 humanitarian response plans, almost 40 million could be missing out this year:
“The human toll of the pandemic on the world’s vulnerable should not only be measured by the number of lives it has taken but by the eclipsing number it has shattered. Covid-19 has hardest hit millions of people with absolutely no access to protection services. Children recruited by armies cannot reclaim lost childhoods. Women raped and beaten wear their scars for life,” said Jan Egeland, Secretary-General of the Norwegian Refugee Council.
For example, the report states that gender-based violence has increased dramatically since the start of Covid-19. UN- and NRC-experts projected in April that for every three months lockdown measures continued around the world, an additional 15 million women and girls would be exposed to gender-based violence.
As the case is in Mali, over 4,400 cases of gender-based violence were reported between January and September, while only half of the towns in Mali had support services. Another example is that in the Central African Republic (CAR), reported incidents of gender-based violence more than doubled – including rape, sexual slavery and forced marriage.
The report states that child marriages are also on the rise. Meaning that thirteen million more underage marriages could occur over the next 10 years because of the side effects of the pandemic, according to UN estimates. Trafficking is also a concern, with protection aid workers in 66 per cent of the countries surveyed reporting that people are at increased risk of trafficking due to Covid-19.
Also, an increase in violence and armed conflict has been recorded. The report states attacks on civilians increasing by 2.5 per cent since the pandemic began. For example, over 1,800 violent events involving communal armed groups have been registered since the start of the pandemic – a 70 per cent increase – largely across East and West Africa.
The report also states that there is a gap between protection needs during the pandemic, and protection funding is growing wider. Historically nearly 70 per cent of funding for protection services comes from just five donors; the European Union, United Kingdom, Germany, the United Nations and the United States.
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