On July 31, 2020, a press conference was held on the online platform of the Media Center, during which the “Women human rights defenders stepping up against gender-based violence in Armenia” project was presented. Launched in February 2020, it is a three-year project which is being implemented by the Coalition to Stop Violence against Women and is funded by the European Union.
The project was launched in February 2020 but due to the Coronavirus pandemic its presentation was postponed. The participants of the press conference were EU Ambassador to Armenia Andrea Wiktorin and Zaruhi Hovhannisyan, External Relations Officer of the Coalition. The speakers talked about the importance of the project and presented its main activities. The Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia, Ambassador Andrea Wiktorin mentioned that violence is a global problem. As she mentioned, the European Union is convinced that human rights violations, especially against women, must be combated around the world, as all people have the fundamental right to live without violence anywhere in the world․ The Ambassador appreciated the significant work of the Coalition to Stop Violence against Women, mentioning the fact that women human rights activists are fighters on the front lines, confronting domestic violence, as well as abuse and discrimination in the workplace and public spaces.
“I am very well aware of the work of the Coalition to Stop Violence against Women and I am very impressed by their engagement and willingness of employees. Many of the women involved in this work are often publicly targeted for their efforts, but anyway, they continue to do their job consistently and dedicatedly, which is very impressive to me”, – said EU Ambassador during the press conference. Andrea Wiktorin invited all interested organizations and individuals to join the fight against violence and to contribute together in raising awareness of the issue in Armenia. “I am sure that violence is not a part of national values or Armenian culture. People who use violence are weak people, and the violence is a tool to make other people weaker. I am also convinced that the Armenian government is by our side in this struggle”, – mentioned Andrea Wiktorin.
Zaruhi Hovhannisyan has briefly presented the goals of the project and the expected activities which will be directed towards developing state policies, improving anti-violence mechanisms, raising public awareness, as well as providing support to women survivors of domestic and gender-based violence. The overall goal of this project is to contribute to the elimination of violence against women in Armenia. There are two specific objectives of the project:
Activities that should be implemented with the state, such as the development of necessary laws, policies and sub-legal acts aimed at contributing to the elimination and prevention of violence, as well as the improvement of the state bodies’ capacities to provide an effective, sensitive and multi-sectoral response to gender-based violence.
– Awareness raising trainings and meetings with women, civil society organizations and the public about domestic violence issues and existing protection mechanisms. It is planned to issue reports, develop training guides and conduct trainings with health institutions’, local self-government bodies, social assistance centers about domestic and gender-based violence issues․
“The support will be provided to women survivors of gender-based violence’s to reduce the negative consequences of the Covid-19 situation. Looking at women’s rights issues during these times, we can clearly say that any emergency situation shows the existing problems in the most significant way. Because of the pandemic, women found themselves in even more vulnerable situations, so necessary social and legal support is key”, – mentioned Zaruhi Hovhanisyan.
At the end of the press conference the Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia, Ambassador Andrea Wiktorin mentioned that we all must work together to eliminate domestic and gender-based violence against women around the world.