Most children who face abuse and violence are in Asia. (Photo: Unsplash)
Catholic bishops in Malaysia have joined a global campaign that calls for united global action to prevent violence against women and children.
Archbishop Julian Leow Beng Kim of Kuala Lumpur, president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Malaysia (CBCM), said the Church in the country is in solidarity with the United Nations’ “Orange the world: Fund, Respond, Prevent and Collect” campaign.
The 16-day global equality campaign by UN Women calls for global action to bridge funding gaps, ensure essential services for survivors of violence during the Covid-19 crisis, focus on prevention and collect data that can improve life-saving services for women and girls.
The campaign runs from Nov. 25, International Day for Elimination of Violence against Women, and Dec. 10, Human Rights Day.
In a statement issued Dec. 2, Archbishop Kim called for an end to violence against women and children everywhere including homes, workplaces, schools and places of worship.
“The welfare of children is of paramount importance and all of us must acknowledge our social responsibility for child protection and commit to protecting our children in all circumstances," he said.
"With violence in all forms against women and girls reportedly intensifying at such an alarming rate as to amount to a shadow pandemic alongside the Covid-19 pandemic, we must all take action to ensure that victims may report, without fear of repercussions, stigma or shame, the sexual violence and harassment inflicted upon them whether at home, in the workplace, educational institutions or establishments or at entities, including places of worship, which work or interact with children.”
Archbishop Kim also noted that most of the dioceses within the CBCM already have in place committees actively working on promoting effective plans for child abuse prevention including therapy and support for victims and survivors.
“The CBCM and its offices will continue to work with those in the advocacy community dedicated to ending gender-based violence in our society. Pledging our commitment to being active participants in the global effort to end such grotesque violations of human rights, we take this opportunity to reiterate our support for the work of all organizations reaching out to help its victims,” the prelate added.
As in many countries, Malaysia has seen an increase in gender-based violence, especially domestic violence, in the time of Covid-19 pandemic, according to UNDP Malaysia.
Around the world, about 35 percent of women and girls face various forms of violence including physical and sexual abuse, says UN Women.
Meanwhile, UNICEF estimates about one billion children in the world face various kinds of abuse and violence and the majority of the victims are from Asia.