Nuray Çevirmen, a member of the Women’s Commission, has said that applications regarding economic and social rights have increased during the coronavirus pandemic.
According to data from the Human Rights Association (IHD) Women’s Commission, 1,120 applications were made over the internet between January and October. More than half were for economic and social rights claims, and 402 applications were made by women. April, May and June were the busiest months for applications.
In the days leading to the International Day of Combating Violence Against Women on 25 November, Çevirmen, a member of the IHD Central Executive Board (MYK), evaluated the mounting applications and the increasing problems of women.
Social rights applications increased
Çevirmen spoke to the Mesopotamia Agency (MA) and said that before the pandemic, in addition to harassment, rape and violence cases, most applications came from prisons. Since the pandemic, economic and social rights claims have increased. “Many women whose husbands are in prison made applications within the scope of economic and social rights”, Çevirmen said. “Problems are also affecting a wide range of women. Applications were made by women from 16 to 80 years old”.
Stating that women with poor economic and social situations have to endure the most violence, Çevirmen said, “Women who are unable to sustain their own lives become vulnerable to violence. After a while, women have to return to their families because of a lack of opportunities. This is something that encourages the continuation of violence and makes women’s lives difficult”. Noting that the rate of unemployment among women increased with the pandemic, Çevirmen continued, “Women on low wages were the first to be discarded in this process”.
Çevirmen noted that women who have already experienced many problems in prisons have difficulty in accessing cleaning and hygiene materials. Emphasising that many women prisoners are transferred to prisons away from their families, Çevirmen said, “Women prisoners with their children face serious problems. In addition, they are exposed to discriminatory approaches in hospital referrals”.
She added that applications made to the IHD Women’s Commission are proportional to the increase in the cases of violence, harassment and rape, and said that refugee women were particularly affected.
‘Change is important and essential’
A permanent solution to women’s problems is proving difficult to find. Çevirmen continued: “It is possible to get results by changing policies. We are trying to find a solution for current applications in a system that discusses the Istanbul Convention. Without it the law does not protect women, does not find a solution to domestic violence, and sends women to homes where they are most likely to be subjected to violence. Therefore, the policy must change and transform. If we can change and transform together, we will get results”.