137th IPU Assembly
St. Petersburg, 14-18 October 2017
Item 10 d Reports on recent IPU specialized meetings
Regional Conference on violence against women and girls
on Making laws work to end violence against women and girls
Bucharest (Romania), 12-14 June 2017
Senator Silvia-Monica DINICĂ
Romanian IPU Group
I am very pleased to report to you on the Regional Conference which brought together in Bucharest more than 150 parliamentarians, non-governmental organizations, and justice and law enforcement officials from 25 countries.
The Conference was a useful platform to exchange good practices and identify strategies to address violence against women. It was jointly organized by the IPU, the Romanian Chamber of Deputies, Global Rights for Women, and Vital Voices, with the support of the Senate of Romania.
The Conference was successful in building national synergies and laying the foundation for wider cooperation among all those involved in preventing and eliminating violence against women and girls.
Violence against women is a serious human rights violation. It not only deprives women and girls of their dignity and integrity, but it also prevents them from realizing their full potential for themselves and for society. The Conference was based on the belief that Goal 5 of the Sustainable Development Agenda - Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls – which includes the elimination of violence against women as a target, should be addressed not only as a goal in itself, but also as a key enabler for achieving all the SDGs.
Our discussions focused on causes and consequences of domestic violence and sexual violence; and coordination of essential services for victims and accountability for offenders. The Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence was at the centre of discussions on best practices. As you are aware, the Istanbul Convention offers concrete guidelines for combating violence against women, includes the requirement of a multi-sectoral approach and also recognizes and formally invites parliaments to participate in monitoring measures taken to implement its provisions.
The conference also included two multi-session learning tracks where the participants had an opportunity for in-depth sharing of good examples in the civil and criminal justice system, as well as in multi-sectoral collaboration in implementing laws on violence against women and girls.
The participants adopted an outcome document which highlights several strategies on how to ensure effective implementation of laws and policies to guaranty that women and girls can live free from gender-based violence.
Those strategies include, among others:
1) multisectoral collaboration for a strong community-coordinated response;
2) a focus on victims in terms of providing them with a safe space to report violence, an array of services geared to their needs and tools to counter further intimidation;
3) ensuring that the criminal justice system bears the burden of holding abusers accountable;
4) educating children on human rights and gender equality; and,
5) engaging men in this movement of change.
During and after the event, the parliamentarians from Central and Eastern Europe were encouraged to meet with the representatives of the NGOs and government officials of their country to discuss concrete follow-up to the Conference.
We have been informed that follow-up works are currently done in Albania, Azerbaijan, Tajikistan, Turkey.
As for Romania, I want to inform you that just two weeks after the IPU Conference, the Foreign Policy Committee in the Chamber of Deputies with its Sub-Committee on Sustainable Development decided to set up a multi-sectoral Working Group on SDG 5. The Group brings together members from specialised committees in both Chambers, representatives of governmental institutions and civil society organisations. Its mandate is to review and update the existing national strategies and laws of relevance for the implementation of SDG5.
Also, in the follow-up of the IPU Conference, 68 Romanian senators and deputies from all political parties submitted a legislative initiative to amend the Penal Code. The amendment eliminates the possibility for aggressors to be exempt from criminal responsibility when the victims withdraw their complaints. The draft was posted on the website of the Senate for public consultation and is currently under legislative procedure.
Finally, I would like to inform you that Romania is in the process of revising the law against domestic violence in order to include a new occupation – the Gender Equality Expert. We expect that the improved text will enforce the institutional and legislative framework in this area, in line with our European and international commitments.