On the 22 of November, the Bulgarian National Coordination of the European Women´s Lobby (the Bulgarian Gender Research Foundation) organised two events to raise awareness on the lack of visibility of the phenomenon of rape and call for the signature and ratification of the Istanbul Convention.
In Bulgaria, marital rape is not criminalised and the perpetrator has the possibility to avoid sanction if he marries the women victim before the sentence is carried out (EWL Barometer on rape in Europe 2013).
Bulgarian Platform of the European Women’s Lobby (BWL) together with the Aliance for Protection against Domestic Violence (APDV) lunched 16 days Campaign on 22 of November in Sofia. More than 60 women holding balloons and a big poster started the Campaign in front of the Bulgarian Parliament demonstrating for urgent ratification of the Istanbul Convention.
The Bulgarian National Coordinator of Women’s Lobby is demanding the urgent signature, ratification and implementation of the Istanbul Convention.
On the same date, after the demonstration, BWL and APDV held a public event in the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy. The event was opened by Lazar Lazarov, Deputy Minister of the Labour and Social Policy. The Deputy Minister of Justice, Ms. Sabrie Sapundjieva congratulated the initiative and sent an official letter to the organizers. A presentation of the Barometer 2013 focusing on Bulgarian situation has been done by Iliana Balabanova-Stoycheva, Coordinator of the Bulgarian Platform and National expert in the EWL Observatory against VAW. Genoveva Tisheva, Chair of APDV presented the Istanbul Convention as a tool for eliminating VAW and Irina Ivanova, Chief Expert in the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs presented Plan of the Republic of Bulgaria to implement recommendation of the CEDAW Committee in relation to violence against women. Finally, the event was closed by inviting all participants to sign the petition to the Bulgarian authorities to ratify the CoE Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence. The program of the event in Bulgarian and English can be downloaded here.
The BWL and APDV disseminated among the participants brochures, postcards, stickers and calendar with fact and figures on rape and other form of violence against women.
After the event in Sofia several events were organized in several Bulgarian cities (Burgas, Plovdiv, Plevena, Plovdiv, Silistra, Veliko Tarnovo) by organisations members of the BWL and APDV.