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Opinions & Interviews

27 Mar 2017

Belarus commended for achievements in counteracting family violence

Belarus commended for achievements in counteracting family violence

MINSK, 27 March (BelTA) - Belarus has made certain achievements in combating family violence, Mr Caspar Peek, Country Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Belarus, said at the international workshop “Istanbul Convention as an instrument for developing a set of measures for the prevention of violence against women at the national level,” BelTA has learned.

Domestic violence is one of the most pressing problems in the world, including Belarus. According to the national representative survey conducted by the UNFPA in 2014, more than 70% of partnered women aged from 18 to 60 have experienced domestic violence.

"The Istanbul Convention is not something abstract. This is a way to expose what used to be a private family problem,” Mr Caspar Peek said. He praised the commitment of the Belarusian government and public bodies to addressing the problem of domestic violence.

“It is necessary to provide financing of the measures to prevent and address this problem which affects all family members including children,” Caspar Peek said. “A sheer number of women suffer from gender-based violence. It has a far-reaching effect on the female physical and psychological health and is fraught with constant stress and depression. Gender-based violence has considerable economic consequences on a national scale. This is why governmental institutions, civil society, non-commercial organizations and church need to work together,” Caspar Peek remarked.

According to him, people should understand that violence cannot resolve a problem. They should change not only their behavioral models but also certain gender stereotypes. “The elaboration of legislative measures in Belarus to fight violence against women and strong cooperation in the fight against this evil are inspiring,” Caspar Peek noted.

The organizers of the workshop are the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Belarus, the Interior Ministry and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This event is held within the framework of the technical assistance project “Developing National Capacity to Counteract Domestic Violence in Belarus”. The event brought together MPs, representatives of the government bodies in charge of the national policies for the prevention of violence against women and domestic violence, UN agencies and other international organizations, NGOs, academia, the diplomatic corps, and media. The purpose of the workshop is to introduce the participants to the basic provisions and objectives of the Council of Europe’s convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence and the experience of foreign countries that have acceded to this international instrument.

the Council of Europe’s convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence came into force on 1 august 2014 (Istanbul Convention). The convention recognizes violence against women as a violation of human rights and a form of discrimination. It calls for zero tolerance for violence, establishes criminal responsibility for acts of violence.

The technical assistance project “Developing National Capacity to Counteract Domestic Violence in Belarus” is implemented jointly by the United Nations Population Fund and the Interior Ministry with the financial support of the Government of the United Kingdom and the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) in 2016-2018. The aim of the project is to build national capacity in counteracting gender-based violence and preventing its manifestations, particularly in relation to women.

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