Geneva: The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet praised efforts by the UAE to protect women during the COVID-19 pandemic in a recent webinar titled "COVID-19 and Gender Equality: Living Up to the Challenge."
The UAE has exerted significant effort to protect women, launching remote work for pregnant women and mothers with children in the 9th grade and younger as early precautions to curb the spread of COVID-19.
"The UAE is fully committed to the promotion of women's rights and considers the empowerment of women fundamental to the development of a modern and progressive society," said Ahmed Abdul Rahman Al Jarman, Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation for Human Rights and International Law.
He noted that the UAE has allowed pregnant women and mothers with young children to work remotely to prevent the spread of the virus. It has also established distance learning for girls and health services for women in order to enhance their physical and psychological wellbeing and ensure access to medical care, particularly during the current crisis.
"The UAE considers the safety and security of women to be critical, as domestic violence is a serious crime in the country and is punishable by law. The UAE reviews and periodically evaluates legislation to ensure the protection of women. Recently, the UAE issued a decree via Federal Law No. 10 of 2019 to prevent domestic violence in the UAE and has adopted policies to protect families," he noted.
For her part, the UN High Commissioner praised actions taken by the UAE and the Kingdom of Bahrain to soften the impact of COVID-19 on women and girls. She noted that women and girls have been affected by the pandemic in numerous countries, where they have faced issues in diminished employment opportunities, an increase in domestic violence, and the decreased availability of first responders, posing a threat to pregnant women.
Speaking about efforts to combat domestic violence, Secretary-General of the Inter-Parliamentary Union Martin Chungong called for the adoption of measures to address the global surge in domestic violence against women and girls linked to government-imposed closures as part of efforts to curb COVID-19.