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Message from ARDN Concerning Violence and Discrimination Against Women and Girls during COVID-19

Dear Friends,

On 6 March 2020, at the headquarters of the United Nations in New York, the African Renaissance and Diaspora Network (ARDN), together with several United Nations member states and entities, and leaders in the world of sport, civil society and the private sector, launched the Equal Light Red Card campaign – a global campaign to end all violation and discrimination against women and girls.

Since then, we have received unfortunate news about the alarm and urgency, and disproportionate burden, facing women and girls arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Women, who are on the front lines throughout the world, are risking their lives to overcome the spread of the disease and protect other people, and already pay a disproportionate toll to the pandemic – even more so for women of colour in Africa and the Diaspora. But as lockdown measures are taken on every continent, incidents of domestic violence are on the rise. While nearly 1 in 5 women experience ill-treatment, now many of them are trapped at home with their abusers.

There is now a growing collective concern that much of the recent progress towards gender equality (Sustainable Development Goal #5) is at risk.

Especially now, in these troubled times, we must ensure that our mothers, daughters and sisters are uplifted and not left behind, and must step up the campaign to “give a Red Card to all discrimination and violence against women and girls”. We look forward to receiving information from and about any organization that addresses or is concerned with gender equality or women’s empowerment as we continue to build a coalition of partners.

In the game of football, a red card signifies a serious and inexcusable infraction of the rules. As members of one human family, discrimination and violence against women and girls must be viewed as serious and inexcusable violations of the rules and norms of society, and should not be tolerated on or off the playing field. Accordingly, the Red Card campaign seeks to obtain a minimum of one million commitments to put an end to gender based violence and discrimination in every form by the FIFA World Cup in 2022 in Qatar.

We are pleased to invite you to join us as we press forward in the planning of the 2020 edition of Africa Open for Business Summit during the United Nations General Assembly in September in New York, within the framework of ARDN’s Pathway to Solutions Initiative.
You can follow our progress on ARDN’s website, www.ardn.ngo, and learn more about Pathway to Solutions at www.ardn.ngo/pathway.

Finally, if you have not already, we urge you to sign the Red Card Pledge (www.redcardpledge.com) and to invite everyone you know to follow suit.
 Together, we can put an end to gender inequality.

I look forward to hearing from you. Stay Safe, Stay Strong and Stay home.

Djibril Diallo

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