EWL News

Zagreb conference on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence

[Brussels, 28 October 2014] Over the past ten years, 300 women in Croatia have been killed by their husbands, partners, sons or other family members and although the trend is falling, 11 were killed last year and three in the first six months of this year, a conference in parliament heard on Tuesday.

The conference, which took place in Zagreb on the 21th of October 2014, was organised by the NGO “Centre for Women War Victims – ROSA”, member of the EWL Croatian Lobby, in cooperation with the Parliament of Croatia and is part of a regional project promoting the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention) in 5 countries of the Balkans.

Participants underlined the need for Croatia to ratify the document as soon as possible. They were also agreed that although legislation regarding violence against women and domestic violence is aligned with European legislation, in practice it is a different matter.
"Violence against women is the most widespread violation of human rights in the world and this is cause for concern," said Parliament Speaker Josip Leko. Voicing confidence that Croatia would soon sign the Convention, he said it incorporated the best models and practices in force in European societies.

"Violence is evil and a shame for those who use it and not for the victims of this evil, which is something that should be realised," said President Ivo Josipovic, who is a prominent supporter of the EWL 50/50 campaign. Violence against women is deeply ingrained not only in Croatian society but around the world and its scale varies from country to country, he said. Reminding that violence against women was especially dramatic during the war, with rape as a tool in armed conflict, he said the State has an obligation to act with due diligence and called the Parliament for a rapid ratification of the Convention.

Mr Mendes Bota, General Rapporteur on violence against women and Political Coordinator of the Parliamentary Network "Women Free from Violence", called on Croatian leaders and “particularly on my colleagues members of parliament to make use of this political will once again and to take the final step (...). You owe it to the victims of violence in this country. Ratify the Istanbul Convention.” The entry into force of the Istanbul Convention calls us all to go beyond the words and take immediate and tangible actions to ensure that its vision becomes a reality", added Mr Mendes Bota.

Ms Simonovic, member of UN CEDAW Committee and former cochair of the CAHVIO, explained the process of the elaboration of the Convention and the importance to transpose it into reality.
The conference heard about the ratification of the Convention and the NGOs advocacy of its ratification in European countries, including in the 5 other countries of the region (Austria, Bosnia & Hercegovina, Macedonia, Slovenia and Serbia). The EWL presented its 2013 campaign “Act against Rape! Use the Istanbul Convention!” which was very successful in 28 countries and the needs to strengthen the action now for the implementation. Also presented was an analysis of the alignment of Croatian legislation with the Convention.

More information

Report by Colette De Troy, Director of the EWL Observatory on Violence against Women

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