Uyghurs Interned in Chinese Camps at Higher Risk of Covid-19

Uyghurs Interned in Chinese Camps at Higher Risk of Covid-19

It is with tears in my eyes, shocked, that I discovered the crimes against humanity perpetuated by the Chinese government in Xinjiang. The Uyghurs, one of the largest ethnic groups present in the northwestern region, have undergone continuous and increasingly violent repression from the ruling Communist Party since the end of the Cold war. In one of the rare videos capturing the current horrific situation, you can see hundreds of lined Uyghurs men with their shaved heads down, black blindfolds on their eyes, handcuffed while wearing detention clothes. They then walk up to a train that will bring them to the internment camps.

 

It is an unknown number of Uyghurs (for obvious reasons), who are being imprisoned in “re-education camps” but, according to a Reuters report, it ranges from a million up to 3 million. Patrick Poon, a former researcher for Amnesty International, explains that the existence of these overpopulated camps in which Uyghurs face numerous acts of psychological and physical violence makes it difficult to manage the impact of Covid-19 in the region. As we know, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends maintaining physical distance due to the easy transmission of Covid-19 through close physical contact and in low hygiene environments. However, these internment camps are far from places where Uyghurs would be treated in accordance with the WHO guidelines.

 

Uyghurs are persecuted by the Chinese regime because of  the language they speak, which is comparable to a mix of Uzbek and Turkish, as well as for their Muslim religion – both of which are important markers of their identity. It is their very existence that the regime aims to erase in these “re-education” camps. Within the high-security enclosure of the camps, internees are forced to study Mandarin Chinese and the regime ideology, hence depriving them of their own culture. But the camps are not only the scene of generalised  brainwashing and indoctrination. According to survivors, internees also undergo torture and are almost completely alienated from their basic needs by being refused sufficient nutrition or basic health care. 

 

In a recent interview conducted by the Irish Times,  the Chinese ambassador He Xiangdong states that he “personally” does “not accept the word ‘camps’, because it will remind people of the camps at the time of Nazi Germany.” However, the removal of Uyghurs from society and the construction of internment camps that increased in size by around 400% between 2016 and 2018, demonstrates definite similarity with the Nazi and Soviet totalitarian regimes. Professor Jörg Friedrichs, from St. Cross College, Oxford notes the similarities with the Stalinist model in “systematically erasing the history, culture and identity” of Uyghurs.

 

In response, the Uyghurs have been conducting rebellious political actions since their forceful inclusion to the Chinese territory under Mao. From their fight for independence by the East Turkestan People’s Party  to protests during 1995 in Yining or murderous riots such as in 2009 in Urumqi, Xinjiang has been the scene of growing resistance. This has led China to characterize Uyghurs as a “terrorist threat”, prioritised in the regime that launched the “Strike Hard Campaign against Violent Terrorism” in 2014. Moving away from trying to manage the region through economic development, the systematic repression of the Uyghurs is unprecedented. Such measures include the generalized use of advanced surveillance technology with face recognition that tracks individuals and the people they are in contact with in order to predict their future activities. The regime also collects DNA samples, fingerprints and voice recordings of Uyghurs, according to Professor Chung. Calling out the regime for its violent repression and disregard of basic human rights, as formerly done by Uyghur academic Ilham Tohti, puts whistle-blowers at risk of “disappearing” or facing life sentences in internment camps. 

 

It is for its mountainous geographics, working as a natural barrier to invasion, and for its resources – namely Xinjiang’s qualification as the “national energy strategy base” – that the region is of strategic importance. Additionally, Uyghurs have been “used” as additional labour force through their transfer from internment camps to what can be considered forced labour factories. According to a report by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, around 80,000 Uyghurs were moved to such factories between 2017 and 2019. Should the production of goods for tech companies such as Apple and Samsung, car constructors like BMW or other well-known brands such as Nike be revealed, we, as consumers, are testifying that economic interests prevail over the protection of basic human rights. 

 

China’s economic liberalisation was not followed by political democratisation. Instead, the regime is committing a form of genocide as shown by the reduction in the Uyghur population in Xinjiang, diminishing from  82% in 1949 to only 46% in 2010. As shown by Professor Fallon, multiple articles of the  Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide are violated by the Chinese government. They have colonized the region, implemented  measures to forcefully separate families and have taken other physically and psychologically traumatic measures aiming at making Uyghurs a minority in their own homeland.

 

How can we claim to have learned the lessons from the past when we choose  to look away from this reality in order to carry on economic activities? While Turkey is regularly blamed for not recognising the Armenian genocide, we ourselves are not taking action to prevent the Chinese regime from conducting one. Although in December 2019 the European Parliament condemned the Chinese “anti-terrorist” actions, this is not enough. Awarding the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought to Ilham Tohti, who undertook a life sentence in one of the many Uyghur camps, did not lead yet to any concrete actions against the Chinese dictatorship. 

 

While US lawmakers try to respond to the forced labour factories by imposing a trade ban on Xinjiang, European democracies must take the responsibility of protecting the Uyghurs in and out of China. Even beyond the Chinese borders, the Uyghur diaspora is not protected, as shown by several dozens of students in Egypt who were deported back to China, as well as Uyghurs living in France and Australia who received  anonymous calls asking them to pick up a package in the Chinese embassy. Leaders must prevent the massacre of ethnic groups from happening again. They must prioritise human lives and human rights protection over economic interests with China.  

 

 

Photo from Wikimedia Commons

 

 

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Uyghurs Interned in Chinese Camps at Higher Risk of Covid-19

The Uyghurs in the northwestern region of China have undergone continuous and increasingly violent repression from the ruling Communist Party. Millions of them are currently imprisoned in “re-education camps” and aren’t given any protection from the novel coronavirus.

7 Things to do While we’re Stuck in Isolation

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A Student’s Perspective: Sweden is Playing With Fire

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FGM: An Ever-Lasting Fight?

FGM is the perfect example of the inequality many women and girls still have to suffer in today’s world. It stands for Female Genital Mutilation. The procedure entails the cutting and damaging of the female genitals and is also known as female circumcision. Although there haven’t been many cases of FGM in Ireland, it is still an issue here.

A Student’s Call to Action on Climate Change

Climate change and environment issues, in general, are the most talked about topics these days, and for good reason. With all this news of despair and disaster regarding climate change it is easy to think that no matter what we do, nothing is enough. But this isn’t necessarily the case.

Xenophobic Ideas Spread Along with the Novel Coronavirus

The novel coronavirus now has 75,000 reported cases and has claimed over 2,000 lives in China. In the midst of this recent outbreak, we might find ourselves more germaphobic than usual. While paying extra attention to hygiene is normal and even healthy, there is an insidious side to this newfound germaphobia.

The Intersection of Human Rights And Covid-19 Restrictions in Europe

The Intersection of Human Rights And Covid-19 Restrictions in Europe

It is a dangerous time to be living in Europe. As of 29 March 2020, of the ten countries with the most covid-19 related deaths in the world, seven are European, and medical experts and epidemiologists believe the continent could be as far as two weeks away from the peak. The EU has produced a €37 billion emergency fund for sectors impacted by the coronavirus. The outbreak of this virus requires increased involvement by individual governments to protect their populations and ensure procedures are in place to help the most vulnerable. Measures like social distancing, or indeed, cocooning, are necessary and have obvious and immediate implications to ‘flatten the curve’. It is understandable that citizen’s rights such as free movement and public assembly have been temporarily curtailed.

 

But what happens when governments overextend their executive power during a state of emergency? In China, citizens have been instructed to install an app which tracks one’s movement and proximity to others using facial recognition, while in Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has frozen courts, including postponing his own trial concerning three counts of corruption. Across the world, from Somalia to Lesbos to the Mexican border, those living in refugee camps await with bated breath for the potential arrival of the coronavirus. 

 

This month, concerns have been raised regarding the emergency measures introduced by some European democracies. Six European countries – Armenia, Estonia, Georgia, Latvia, Moldova and Romania – have notified the Council of Europe that during this outbreak they will forgo commitment to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) under Article 15 which allows derogation during “public emergency threatening the life of the nation.” Yet it seems unlikely that non-compliance with the ECHR will, in any case, save more lives than continuing compliance. Derogation by these countries could be seen as attempts to limit freedom of the media or freedom of information. 

 

Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, of the right-wing populist Fidesz party, is straddling the line between democracy and authoritarianism after the introduction of an Emergency Powers bill was passed into law this week. It allows Orbán, individually, to rule by decree. He can single-handedly override any existing legislation. As well, the new bill states that the spreading of ‘false’ or ‘true but distorted’ information could lead to a five-year prison sentence, and that all public information concerning government actions must come through him. This clause directly targets freedom of thought and expression, namely anyone – journalist, citizen – critical of Orbán’s actions. Parliament is suspended and there will be no elections while this law is in place. Orbán has been Prime Minister of Hungary since 2010, and in that time has curtailed NGO activity and media independence in Hungary. It is likely his party is taking the ‘opportunity’ afforded by the coronavirus pandemic to implement tighter civic control in line with their populist stance. Because the law has no time period attached to it, MEPs are worried that these measures could continue past the outbreak and curb freedoms for years to come.

 

 

In France, Emmanuel Macron’s new doctrine passed on 22 March has specifically targeted workers’ rights, or “acquis sociaux”, including the right to vacation pay, delaying salary bonuses for low-paid workers, and the power for employers to force overtime work on staff. In Britain, Boris Johnson’s lockdown measures allow for the arrest and detaining of those believed to be infectious, including children, by state authorities. Those detained can be placed in custody facilities for up to 14 days. Doctors can sign death certificates without seeing the patient’s body. Measures like these are a large jump from the Prime Minister’s previous “herd immunity” tactic. For those living hand to mouth across the continent, lockdown measures directly cut through a right to livelihood, food and shelter. In recent days, as Italy enters week 3 of lockdown, a notable increase in social unrest has been reported, stemming from those living in the poorer southern regions where hunger is increasingly rampant. 

Alongside emergency powers aiming to prevent the spread of coronavirus, governments must implement social security measures to help the most vulnerable populations. Citizens can only comply with social distancing and lockdown measures should they have food, shelter, and peace of mind that they will have a livelihood to support themselves and their loved ones once this epidemic is over. We are living in an age of anxiety – and, should you follow President Donald Trump’s rhetoric, a time of war. Covid-19 is the invisible enemy. But, governments should not take this pandemic as an opportunity to over-extend power structures, or exploit humanity. 

 

 

Photo from freepik

 

 

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Uyghurs Interned in Chinese Camps at Higher Risk of Covid-19

The Uyghurs in the northwestern region of China have undergone continuous and increasingly violent repression from the ruling Communist Party. Millions of them are currently imprisoned in “re-education camps” and aren’t given any protection from the novel coronavirus.

The Intersection of Human Rights And Covid-19 Restrictions in Europe

The outbreak of the coronavirus requires increased involvement by individual governments to protect their populations and ensure procedures are in place to help the most vulnerable. But what happens when governments overextend their executive power during a state of emergency?

Conversations from Calais: The Poster Project Bringing Humanity Back Into the Refugee Crisis

In October 2016, bulldozers came into the refugee camp known as the Calais Jungle and tore apart the shelters that thousands of migrants had made their homes. Although it has been more than three years since the official eviction, it’s estimated that there are still almost 1,500 migrants living in the forests near Calais and Dunkirk, with around 200 of those being unaccompanied minors.

Asylum Seekers host Feminist Conference for International Women’s Day

On the 7th of March 2020, the organisation ‘Abolish Direct Provision’ hosted the first Asylum Seekers Feminist Conference, with the aim of uniting and empowering women in Direct Provision. The event, held in DCU, was attended by asylum seekers from Direct Provision centres all around the country.

FGM: An Ever-Lasting Fight?

FGM is the perfect example of the inequality many women and girls still have to suffer in today’s world. It stands for Female Genital Mutilation. The procedure entails the cutting and damaging of the female genitals and is also known as female circumcision. Although there haven’t been many cases of FGM in Ireland, it is still an issue here.

An Interview with OurTable: “It All Comes Down to Integration”

STAND’s Cedric speaks to Ellie Kisyombe from Our TABLE Dublin about the history of Direct Provision in Ireland, changes to the system and the role of ‘OurTable’. 

Seanad Candidate Could Be the First Traveller Woman in the Oireachtas

Seanad Candidate Could Be the First Traveller Woman in the Oireachtas

Eileen Flynn has been nominated to the Labour panel for the upcoming Seanad elections, receiving nominations from Thomas Pringle TD as well as the three People Before Profit TDs. If successful, Flynn, who grew up in the Labre Park Traveller housing site in Ballyfermot, would be the first female Traveller in either House of the Oireachtas. She attended Trinity College Dublin through an access programme for disadvantaged youth, and following her undergraduate degree she trained as a community worker at Maynooth University, moving to Donegal in 2018 with her husband. Flynn has been involved in activism for over a decade, with the Irish Traveller Movement, the National Traveller Women’s Forum and Ballyfermot Traveller Action Programme. While there has been progress in recent years in terms of Traveller visibility in the Oireachtas, speaking to The Irish Times Flynn said she felt it was important to “bring a Traveller voice to the table”. 

 

In March 2017, the Irish State formally recognised Irish Travellers as an ethnicity for the first time. This was a major step for Traveller activists, who had been campaigning for recognition of their ethnicity since the Irish Traveller Movement was established in 1990. Since recognition, the ITM continues to lobby the Irish government on issues such as Traveller equality, accommodation and education. While the recognition of Traveller ethnicity in 2017 was a huge step for Traveller equality, many feel there has not been any real difference to the everyday lives of Travellers in the last three years. A Seanad report in January 2020 outlined more than 30 recommendations which aim to reduce the stigma and prejudices which Travellers face in Irish society, including a permanently reserved seat in the Seanad for Irish Travellers. Other recommendations include a paid internship scheme for Travellers in the Civil & Public Services, hate speech legislation with particular protection for Travellers, and a National Traveller Mental Health Strategy. 

 

It is clear that the strategies implemented by the Irish state across the last few decades have failed to meet the needs of Irish Travellers. The old adage comes to mind, surely familiar to anyone involved in activism; “nothing about us without us”. One of the main issues in creating a workable framework for improving conditions within the Traveller community, is that many of these decisions have been made without the consultation of members of the community. Many strategies, particularly in the realms of education and accommodation, have been rejected by those they were trying to help, simply because they did not meet the needs of the community. It is clear that Traveller children have not been able to benefit from the Irish education system in the same way as ‘settled’ children have, with less than 1% of Travellers going on to third-level education. This lack of success in education also contributes to the fact that the current unemployment rate for Travellers is more than 80%. 

 

A key part of the Traveller ethnicity has always been the ability to live together in a way that respects their nomadic culture and way of life. Many recent Traveller Accommodation Programmes have been developed without consultation of Traveller needs, and therefore they are often forced into housing which does not preserve their cultural identity. Poorly designed halting sites, often on the outskirts of towns and cities, leave Travellers isolated from their communities, making it harder to access health services, jobs or education. Living in poor accommodation has immense effects on both physical and mental health, and this lack of properly maintained sites is a big contributor to the fact that very few Travellers live into their 70s, while the life expectancy for the majority of the population is 82. Social isolation, high rates of homelessness (11% of the Traveller population are officially homeless), as well as discrimination faced in schools, jobs and the rental market; all lead to poor mental health throughout the Traveller population. Suicide accounts for over 10% of all Traveller deaths, with the rate of male Traveller suicide more than six times higher than that of the ‘settled’ male population. 

 

Previous Irish governments’ attempts to absorb the Traveller community into wider Irish culture have clearly failed, and have instead lead to widespread discrimination against members of the Traveller community who are often condemned for struggling to easily assimilate into a culture which does not allow them to express their Traveller identity. If properly implemented, the recommendations of the 2020 Seanad report could see greater representation of Travellers in all levels of Irish government, and could lead to greater opportunities for Travellers to engage with Irish society in a way that facilitates their needs as an ethnic minority to practice their cultural traditions. Candidates such as Eileen Flynn could be at the forefront of improving the relationships between Travellers and settled Irish people, and making it easier for Travellers to thrive in many different walks of life. 

 

 

Photo from Houses of the Oireachtas website

 

 

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The Intersection of Human Rights And Covid-19 Restrictions in Europe

The outbreak of the coronavirus requires increased involvement by individual governments to protect their populations and ensure procedures are in place to help the most vulnerable. But what happens when governments overextend their executive power during a state of emergency?

Seanad Candidate Could Be the First Traveller Woman in the Oireachtas

Eileen Flynn has been nominated to the Labour panel for the upcoming Seanad elections, receiving nominations from Thomas Pringle TD as well as the three People Before Profit TDs. If successful, Flynn, who grew up in the Labre Park Traveller housing site in Ballyfermot, would be the first female Traveller in either House of the Oireachtas.

Ireland’s First Security Summit Addresses the Need for Increased Safety Measures

On February 25th and 26th 2020, the first National Security Summit met at Dublin City University in the Helix building. The summit focused on four main branches of security to allow for a variety of keynotes, panels, and debates.

Coronavirus: The Lived Experience Throughout Europe

COVID-19 is dominating the news at the moment. It can be quite easy to detach from the current crisis we find ourselves in, even as the panic and restrictions that accompany the spread of COVID-19 slowly seeps into the daily lives of almost every European country. I set out to gain a better understanding of how the virus, and the accompanying measures in place, have altered the daily lives of different people living across Europe.

Airlines’ Responsibility on Climate Change

Aviation is one of the fastest-growing sources of greenhouse gas emissions. It generates 600 million tonnes of CO2 a year and other factors are estimated to have an impact even higher than that of CO2. Ryanair claims to be Europe’s “greenest” airline, however, the low-cost carrier was named in a list of Europe’s top 10 CO2 emitters.

The Irish Environment to Have its Day in Court

Friends of the Irish Environment (FIE), an Irish charity committed to tackling climate change, have become significant players in Irish climate litigation. Now, they have been granted special permission to go straight to the Supreme Court, to demand that the government do better to protect our environment.

Ireland’s First Security Summit Addresses the Need for Increased Safety Measures

Ireland’s First Security Summit Addresses the Need for Increased Safety Measures

On February 25th and 26th 2020, the first National Security Summit met at Dublin City University in the Helix building. The summit focused on four main branches of security to allow for a variety of keynotes, panels, and debates. Topics like global security, cybersecurity, defence/intelligence security, and innovation/research are just some of the themes attendees were able to choose from. There were also a variety of speakers like Russell Travers, Brigadier General Rory O’Conner, Dermot Woods, Dr. Maura Conway, Special Agent Kevin Bosch, and Commandant Sharon McManus.

 

Many people may wonder why Ireland should even have a security summit, but it only takes looking at the news to understand. As the United States continues to threaten NATO with their withdrawal, many European countries have begun the process of rearmament. Germany is one such country that has budgeted billions of money to go directly into their military. In a country like Ireland, that has a history of staying formally neutral during countless wars,  these recent actions have left the country feeling conflicted.

 

Many speakers, like Minister Paul Kehoe, stated that Ireland needs to become a more secure environment. He explains, “The threat level [from a terrorist attack] is moderate”, but highlights at the same time that although it is not likely, that does not diminish the fact that it can happen. In the midst of a terrorist attack, Ireland does not have the resources to deal with the threat or the aftermath. Inadequate funding and public indifference holds the military back from achieving what many believe is a safety net for the country.

 

Ireland has allocated funds for the defence budget in 2020 to be €1.04 billion, however, a little over half of that will be going to pay the 10,400 public service employees. In a world where a terrorist attack can happen anywhere, at any time, Ireland will have to choose how involved it really wants to be.

 

Another interesting theme that seemed to carry over the two days was the idea that people matter, meaning that the summit focused on The Republic of Ireland needing to become a nation that can ensure its citizen’s safety more effectively. Ken Pennington stated, “[When] getting back to the basics, human rights matters”. Paul Gill expanded on this during his talk. Gill kept reiterating that profiling is not what it used to be. It is not just men of a certain race or economic status who commit attacks.  It is students trying to behead a soldier, retirees wanting to wreak havoc, and there are also more women now committing crimes.

 

The threat of biochemical warfare was also mentioned in many discussions.  Conor Gallagher declared, “We can hide from bullets and bombs but we can’t hide from gas”. Biochemical warfare can be a real issue and in 2018, when a Novichok agent poisoned Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury, England, many people were left confused and scared. When facing biochemical disasters it is also important to mention the bravery of people in the medical field who treat patients knowing they could die themselves.

 

In my opinion, this summit was amazing because of the amount of information it gave to its attendees. I was given new ways of looking at different situations or events, new interests I want to explore, and I met wonderful people through networking events as well. Having people with a variety of backgrounds, as well as both academic and experienced-based approaches gave the summit discussions more depth. People did not always agree with one another and respectfully expressed different ideas. With that said I hope this conference will be the first of many to come. For more information, you can always visit www.nssi.ie to learn more.

 

 

Photo by Meredith Salois

 

 

Browse more stories below or sign up to our newsletter to receive our top news straight to your inbox!

 

 

 

The Intersection of Human Rights And Covid-19 Restrictions in Europe

The outbreak of the coronavirus requires increased involvement by individual governments to protect their populations and ensure procedures are in place to help the most vulnerable. But what happens when governments overextend their executive power during a state of emergency?

Seanad Candidate Could Be the First Traveller Woman in the Oireachtas

Eileen Flynn has been nominated to the Labour panel for the upcoming Seanad elections, receiving nominations from Thomas Pringle TD as well as the three People Before Profit TDs. If successful, Flynn, who grew up in the Labre Park Traveller housing site in Ballyfermot, would be the first female Traveller in either House of the Oireachtas.

Ireland’s First Security Summit Addresses the Need for Increased Safety Measures

On February 25th and 26th 2020, the first National Security Summit met at Dublin City University in the Helix building. The summit focused on four main branches of security to allow for a variety of keynotes, panels, and debates.

Coronavirus: The Lived Experience Throughout Europe

COVID-19 is dominating the news at the moment. It can be quite easy to detach from the current crisis we find ourselves in, even as the panic and restrictions that accompany the spread of COVID-19 slowly seeps into the daily lives of almost every European country. I set out to gain a better understanding of how the virus, and the accompanying measures in place, have altered the daily lives of different people living across Europe.

Airlines’ Responsibility on Climate Change

Aviation is one of the fastest-growing sources of greenhouse gas emissions. It generates 600 million tonnes of CO2 a year and other factors are estimated to have an impact even higher than that of CO2. Ryanair claims to be Europe’s “greenest” airline, however, the low-cost carrier was named in a list of Europe’s top 10 CO2 emitters.

The Irish Environment to Have its Day in Court

Friends of the Irish Environment (FIE), an Irish charity committed to tackling climate change, have become significant players in Irish climate litigation. Now, they have been granted special permission to go straight to the Supreme Court, to demand that the government do better to protect our environment.

Let’s Talk About Coronavirus And Women

Let’s Talk About Coronavirus And Women

Like most things in life, coronavirus has a gendered impact. Previous experience with viruses like Ebola and Zika has shown how these crises tend to have particularly harmful effects on women and girls and reinforce gender inequality.  

 

Now, although it is early days, we can see similar patterns emerging regarding the coronavirus – including within Ireland. While initial data indicates that women are less susceptible to the virus than men, there are several key reasons why women are impacted more by this coronavirus. 

 

Firstly, front-line health professionals and workers are more likely to be women, which means women are more likely to be exposed to this virus (with all of the related impacts on their health, wealth and wellbeing). Globally, around 70% of the global health workforce are women. 

 

Secondly, women are more likely to be casual or part-time workers without sick leave or other work entitlements putting them at a higher risk of wage loss or unemployment.  This is especially the case for low income or migrant women who tend to be employed in hospitality, retail or other service industries. Women’s wages also take longer to recover than men’s after crises – as evidenced during the Ebola crisis. 

 

Thirdly, the coronavirus is being called a ‘disaster for feminism’ by The Atlantic – because as children are sent home, decisions will have to be made regarding who will mind them. This will likely mean a considerable increase in the volume of unpaid work carried out by women. Women are also likely to be responsible for looking after COVID-19 patients at home. It is feared that women’s work and incomes will suffer more than men’s during this period ‘making women’s independence a silent victim of the pandemic’. Globally, girl’s schooling will also be disproportionately impacted by school closures (including in non-obvious ways, e.g. moves to teleschooling due to the digital divide issues many women face).  

 

Fourthly, domestic and sexual violence rise during crises like these – termed the ‘silent epidemic’. Not all homes are safe, and so women are at heightened risk of controlling behaviour, verbal abuse and violence during times of quarantine and lockdown. Rights groups in Ireland have been working to draw attention to these issues

 

Fifthly, women face challenges in accessing the services they need, including sexual and reproductive services and services for maternal care. During the Ebola crisis, more women died of obstetric complications than the disease, but these secondary deaths attract less attention

 

I could continue because there are so many ways in which women are impacted differently to men – but I will stop there. However, it must be emphasised that already-disadvantaged women, including migrant women, homeless women, and women in direct provision, face double layers of discrimination and have more limited access to healthcare and protective items than the general population. During this time of collective stress and uncertainty, we can perhaps experience greater solidarity with these women whose daily experience already involves a high degree of stress from their living conditions and uncertainty about their futures. 

 

In Ireland, groups like the NWCI and Women’s Aid are doing Trojan work to remind women they are not alone during this time and making sure key supports for women are continued. Recent confirmations from the Irish government that it is safe for migrants (documented and undocumented) to access essential services are also essential. However, more needs to be done by our government to ensure the most vulnerable are protected during this crisis.

 

The increased burden faced by women during COVID19 highlights the ways in which women are disadvantaged within our society – still saddled with the brunt of unpaid care work and domestic work, at heightened risk of domestic violence and abuse, and faced with gender gaps at work and at home. 

 

While one might expect the unique experiences of women at times like these to mean they will be included in decision-making around the crisis, and in gender-proofing our decision-making, this is unfortunately not the case; in fact, gender issues are being largely ignored. And, valuable opportunities are being missed to gather data or conduct research on the gendered-impact of the coronavirus which could help us better prepare for future epidemics. 

 

As we face into the uncertainty of the coronavirus crisis, it is important that we do not treat gender as a side issue – there is too much at stake. Rather, we might see this as a crucial opportunity for leadership based on principles of intersectionality and mutual care. 

 

More to come from STAND on how the coronavirus impacts women over the next few weeks and months – stay tuned. 

 

 

Photo by Tumisu from Pixabay

 

 

Browse more stories below or sign up to our newsletter to receive our top news straight to your inbox!

 

 

 

Let’s Talk About Coronavirus And Women

Like most things in life, coronavirus has a gendered impact. Previous experience with viruses like Ebola and Zika has shown how these crises tend to have particularly harmful effects on women and girls and reinforce gender inequality. Now we can see similar patterns emerging regarding the coronavirus – including within Ireland.

New Emojis to Highlight Diversity

Emojis play an important role in digital communication, allowing us to express our emotions and convey meaning through cute little symbols. However, our ability to communicate is limited by the pictures and symbols on offer, and so emojis can make a big difference!

Asylum Seekers host Feminist Conference for International Women’s Day

On the 7th of March 2020, the organisation ‘Abolish Direct Provision’ hosted the first Asylum Seekers Feminist Conference, with the aim of uniting and empowering women in Direct Provision. The event, held in DCU, was attended by asylum seekers from Direct Provision centres all around the country.

FGM: An Ever-Lasting Fight?

FGM is the perfect example of the inequality many women and girls still have to suffer in today’s world. It stands for Female Genital Mutilation. The procedure entails the cutting and damaging of the female genitals and is also known as female circumcision. Although there haven’t been many cases of FGM in Ireland, it is still an issue here.

“Marry-Your-Rapist” Bill to Be Passed in Turkey

In rape cases, there is a victim and there is an aggressor. However, the Turkish government is currently attempting to progress a horrific “Marry-Your Rapist” law that will allow rapists to escape any judicial penalty.

Victim of the Magdalene Laundries Seeks Justice from UN Committee Against Torture

Elizabeth Coppin, a seventy-year-old survivor of the Magdalene laundries, is taking her case to the United Nations in a landmark move. Ms Coppin says that she has been denied justice by the Irish State for over twenty years. This could potentially have resounding implications for the State’s approach to historical abuse.

7 Things to do While we’re Stuck in Isolation

7 Things to do While we’re Stuck in Isolation

With a week and a half of quarantine already under our belts, it would be fair to say that most of you reading this have had your lives flipped over in a very short period of time. Universities and schools were cancelled, your working life has changed, you haven’t seen your grandparents or immuno-compromised friends in two weeks, and perhaps you aren’t even in Ireland anymore. It has been a tough time for all of us, be it through health scares, money worries or even just an impending sense of cabin fever right about now. However, it’s important to remember that what we are doing is having a tangible effect on the overall health of the country, and we are currently protecting  the health and the lives of people we don’t even know right now. At the same time, it is entirely understandable and, frankly, normal to be feeling a little cooped-up, a little down and a little and bit in limbo. This is why we have put together a list of things for you to occupy yourself with during this ever so strange time in our lives.

 

1. Schoolwork

If you’re anything like me, studying is the last thing you feel like doing right now. However, most of us still have online lectures and tutorials, as well as essays due and exam deadlines. Of course, this work is important – for a sense of normality more than anything else at this stage – but it is so vital to take this work with a grain of salt. A tip I once heard from Cambridge University, the “8-8-8” rule,  comes to mind – 8 hours of study (including classes), 8 hours of sleep (the best way to stay healthy!) and 8 hours of doing something else, anything else, that you enjoy. Even having this sense of balance will introduce structure into your routine, and you will find it much easier to section off your days.

 

2. Binge-watching 

With Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and now even Disney+, there are a wealth of streaming sites and apps to get you so addicted to a new series or movie genre that time will pass before you even know it. However, if, like me, you tend to ( sometimes) feel the tiniest bit guilty whiling away those hours on Love is Blind, try a feature-length documentary instead. Or, if you like something shorter and snappier, the Netflix series Explained has 20-minute documentaries on a variety of topics to keep you entertained.

 

3. Exercise

If you’re sitting inside all day and similarly not really moving from the sofa, the importance of exercise is magnified. And I don’t necessarily mean home workouts – half an hour outdoors either running, walking or cycling around your immediate area will do wonders for both your body and mind… especially with the weather so unnaturally lovely over the past few days!

 

4. Bake or cook

Although many people are rationing their food right now and are being careful of what ingredients they use on a daily basis, there is no harm in trying out some simple healthy (or unhealthy – we deserve it these days) recipes that you’ve always wanted. Try using the common, easy-to-get ingredients, or whipping up that dry-mix cake that has been sitting in the cupboard for the past two years. Being in the kitchen and creating something delicious is more therapeutic than you’d think, and at the end, you have something lovely to indulge in!

 

5. Read a book

Like the majority of us, you probably have thousands of unread books sitting on your shelf at home, neglected because of lack of time spent cosying up at home. Well, now that is no longer an option! Reading is a wonderful way to both expand your mind and obtain knowledge or simply entertain yourself. Reading for pleasure is a luxury few of us actually revel in these days, for a variety of reasons, but it is such a good habit to get back into.

 

6. Try your hand at something new – or old!

Trying different things is a great way to occupy your time at this stage – whether it’s something you lost touch with or something you’ve always wanted to go for . It doesn’t need to be extravagant, just mind-consuming and calming. For example, I know countless people who have picked back up their abandoned instruments; and others who have gotten back into their old sports, like practising online yoga or cycling. Others have taken up new, simple hobbies, like painting, journalling, or calligraphy. You could even make it your resolution to check our STAND News every day to read about current affairs and human rights! 

 

7. Keep healthy!

The primary aim right now is for all of us to keep as healthy as possible. This means getting enough sleep as well as sticking to a proper sleep schedule (this is difficult right now, I know, but it makes a huge difference in the long run!). Again, like we’ve heard a thousand times before, frequently washing hands is a must. Drinking plenty of water is also vital, as, apart from the usual health benefits, it washes out any viral particles living in your mouth. Take care of your skin and maintain your personal hygiene. Overall, keeping to some sort of routine, in general, is pivotal in ensuring we all stay as healthy as possible. 

 

 

Photo by Yuri Efremov on Unsplash

 

 

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