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16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence campaign launched

25 November 2019

On 25 November 2019, on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, United Nations Resident Coordinator Office in Armenia, together with UNFPA Armenia country office, organized a press conference at the UN House in Yerevan, dedicated to the launch of the International Campaign of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence.

This year the campaign will run under the slogan: “Generation Equality: Stop sexual harassment”, focusing on sexual harassment in different areas of life, combating and preventing violence and harassment against women. 

Shombi Sharp, UN Resident Coordinator in Armenia, Zaruhi Batoyan, RA Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, Nelly Duryan, Head of the RA Police Department on Protection of Juveniles' Rights and Combating Domestic Violence, and Tatevik Aghabekyan, Programme Director at Sexual Assault Crisis NGO, spoke at the press conference.

“Globally, one in three women and girls experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime, most frequently by an intimate partner”, - UN Resident Coordinator in Armenia said, -  “Violence against women is a violation of human rights, as well as a serious discrimination against women and a threat for gender equality”.

Mr. Sharp also noted that the UN team remains absolutely committed to work with the Government, civil society, with everyone, to prevent violence against women and ensure gender equality and women empowerment, both economic and political, which can be considered as single most important accelerator in achieving the 2030 Agenda 2030 of Sustainable Development Goals.

In her speech, Zaruhi Batoyan, RA Minister of Labor and Social Affairs, presented the recent Government decisions related to the issue of gender-based violence, and outlined the expected changes.

“The Government of Armenia has rejected all forms of violence at all levels, and emphasizes the importance of prevention of violence against women, as well as the economic and political activity of women”, Batoyan said. "The Government's programmes are to create equal opportunities for young women in Armenia, because otherwise there cannot be a happy and secure society”.

In addition, the Minister noted that the Government had established a central registration procedure, which starting from 2020 would allow gathering and keeping all data on domestic violence in a single platform.

Nelly Duryan, Head of the RA Police Department on Protection of Juveniles' Rights and Combating Domestic Violence, stated that during the ten months of 2019, 378 cases of domestic violence were investigated in Armenia, against 585 of the last year. In total, 2682 domestic violence alerts were received by the police, and 1533 violators were registered.

Ms. Duryan also said that according to the Police of Armenia, 84 cases of crimes against sexual freedom and sexual inviolability were recorded in Armenia during the last ten months, against 78 cases registered last year, and 49 crimes were committed against minors, against 47 cases registered last year. 

Tatevik Aghabekyan, Programme Director at Sexual Assault Crisis Center, mentioned that women need a lot of strength to make a decision to apply to law enforcement agencies in case of sexual assualt.

“They need a lot of resources and they struggle every day to prove the guilt of the guilty. Today in Armenia, the burden of proof of the guilty person rests mainly on the person being sexually assaulted", Ms. Aghabekyan said.