Ending violence against women is everyone’s responsibility.
The Network of Eritrean Women (NEW) was founded in 2013 through the initiative of Eritrean women in diaspora. The team is driven by the need to mobilize, sensitize and empower Eritrean women and girls to claim their rights and to fight against all forms of violence.
Violence against women and girls is one of the most rampant human rights violations. According to United Nations estimates, one in three women worldwide has experienced physical or sexual violence because she is a woman. Furthermore, globally 137 women are killed daily by their intimate partners or family members. Violence is a major obstacle to women’s and girls’ development, and to the welfare and development of our communities and societies as a whole.
In recent weeks, NEW and other human rights organisations and activists have been approached by a number of Eritrean women from Israel, the United Kingdom and Switzerland who reported an alarming increase of incidents of violence including rape and sexual harassment especially since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis. Some of these incidents have been committed by groups. The perpetrators are Eritrean men who act with impunity but whose identities are known to NEW.
As feminist activists, we fundamentally reject the notion that violence against women is a matter of the private sphere or of personal relationships. These hideous crimes are an obvious expression of gender inequality in our society and the general portrayal of women and their bodies as inferior to men.
We are particularly concerned that these violations continue to be committed with impunity against our sisters residing in democratic states, where some of the perpetrators live on the basis of political asylum. The institutions concerned need to make sure that individuals do not abuse this sanctuary of protection to commit fundamental human rights violations.
As a network of Eritrean women, we will not tolerate a continuation of these shameful acts. We commit ourselves to using all our networks and resources to ensure perpetrators of these hideous crimes are held accountable. We will not allow this to happen unopposed.
We ask for every Eritrean to do the followings:
- Join us in condemning all forms of violence against Eritrean women and girls.
- Assume responsibility to stop violence as this affects our society as a whole
- Civic and political organizations need to take a stand against this and address violence against women within the various groups.
- Join us in calling for an end to all forms of violence on women via the hashtag EndGenderBasedViolence #Eritrea