COVID- 19: Pan African Parliament calls on African Parliaments to enact legislations to protect women. - AFRICAN PARLIAMENTARY NEWS



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Thursday, September 10, 2020

COVID- 19: Pan African Parliament calls on African Parliaments to enact legislations to protect women.


The Acting President of the Pan African Parliament (PAP), Rt. Hon. Bouras Djamal has called on African national parliaments to ensure the enactment of legislations that would protect African women and children during the COVID-19 period.

Bouras made the call on Thursday while speaking during a webinar on COVID-19 and Gender-Based Violence: Parliamentary support to gender-responsive COVID-19 national plans organized by the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) through its Women’s Caucus and the United Nations Populations Fund (UNFPA).

He expressed gratitude to the UNFPA for assisting to build the capacity of African parliamentarians in dealing with women related issues, regretting that Africa loses about thirty percent of her economic potential when women are not giving the opportunity to contribute to the economy.

In her speech on the Impact of COVID-19 on Gender-Based Violence, the UNFPA Gender Specialist for East and Southern Africa, Julie Diallo regretted “that limited health system response and testing capacity for COVID-19 deepened the existing inequality and humanitarian crisis including food security with disproportionate impact on women and girls”.

Diallo called for the strengthening of Gender Based Violence (GBV) services for women and girls including existing community based mechanisms to help those who experience violence or are at the risk of violence during the COVID-19 period.

She urged African Parliamentarians to ensure the recognition of GBV services as an essential service under the COVID-19 national response as well as ensure the representation and participation of women in decision making.

She also urged parliamentarians to ensure that social protection mechanisms and economic stimulus packages properly respond to the needs and demands of women and girls adding that African governments must invest in social protection packages that target assistance to those vulnerable groups.

Speaking on Examining policy solutions to address the impact of COVID-19 on women, the Director, Poverty and Social Policy Division, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, Ms. Thokozile Ruzvidzo, noted that the COVID-19 lockdown resulted in unemployment with the attendant loss of income and therefore, stressed the importance of cash transfer support for poor households including those in the informal sector.

To ensure that payments are timely and reach the correct beneficiaries including women led businesses, Ms. Ruzvidzo recommended the use of digital solutions to strengthen accountability.

The webinar was moderated by Ms. Josiane Wawa Dahab, Senior Assistant Clerk, Pan African Parliament. Other speakers included Ms. Caroline Ngonze, Chief ad interim, and Officer-In-Charge, UNFPA Liaison Office to the AU and ECA who gave an opening speech on the theme of the webinar; Hon. Carole Agito, a member of the Pan African Parliament from the Democratic Republic of Congo; and Ilwad Elmi of the Department of Women, Gender & Development (WGDD), African Union Commission who spoke on the Impact of COVID-19 on Gender Equality and Women Empowerment (GEWE).

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