We, the nongovernmental organizations united under the civil platform No to Phobia! believe that an alarming tendency of late ofincreased violence against women and femicide requires a joint response from the government, other institutions and the wider society. It must however be noted that the primary responsibility for this response lies with the government.
To the Government of Georgia and the Interagency Commission to Combat Domestic Violence:
Over the past few years the Georgian authorities have drafted a number of legislative acts to combat domestic violence and ensure gender equality as well as a policy document determining corresponding steps to take in this direction. Moreover, Georgia acceded to such important international formats as the Istanbul Convention and the UN Security Council Resolution 1325, envisaging the approximation of national legislation and practice with international standards. The member nongovernmental organizations of the platform No to Phobia! believe that the problem lies more in enforcement of the legislation rather than in lack of legal provisions.
Consequently, we call on the government of Georgia and the Inter-agency Commission to Combat Domestic Violence at the government of Georgia:
· To properly assess and analyze the reasons impeding the implementation of the legislation;
· To facilitate the establishment of effective legal methods for detecting and preventing facts of domestic violence;
· To carry out measures ensuring the effective conduct of legal prosecution against offenders as well as those employees of the Interior Ministry who, neglecting the law, fail to offer adequate response to facts of violence, thereby encouraging impunity and allowing the scale of violence to increase;
· For the aim of preventing crime on the ground of discrimination, it is important that, along with the Prosecutor’s Office, the Interior Ministry and courts engage institutionally in collecting the statistics on the reports as well as facts of gender-motivated violence against women. This will help correctly assess a motive of discrimination – something which is often ignored in a legal proceeding;
· Although programs oriented on human rights, including gender issues, is integrated within the curriculum of the Police Academy, it is important for both the Interior Ministry and the Prosecutor’s Office to conduct a periodic monitoring and evaluation of these programs in order to assess new needs and revise existing modules accordingly;
· In order to bring training programs for law enforcement officers in line with international standards, it is important to get involved in the OSCE/ODHIR training program which is designed to develop skills for preventing and timely responding to hate crimes.
To Political Parties:
· It is important that political parties and especially, the ruling coalition fully understand the scale of the problem and by their public statements, avoid strengthening traditional attitudes towards stereotyped roles of women and men; also refrain from controversial interpretation of separate tragic incidents;
· It is important that political parties offer society such party programs that will define solutions to this concrete problems and will be more gender sensitive in general.
To Religious Organization:
· Religious associations can play a positive role in combatting this problem by promoting the idea of equality and denouncing any form of violence against women in their public statements and sermons. At the same time, the misconception and misinterpretation of this or that religious teaching may play a negative role and become a cause of discriminationagainst women.
· The denouncement of all forms of violence against women by the Council of Religions at the Public Defender's Office is a welcoming fact. At the same time, we believe that a positive message from the Georgian Apostolic Autocephalous Orthodox Church, condemning the violence against women would be of great importance.
To Media Outlets:
· Journalists are not in the position to stop violence during conflict, but by providing comprehensive informing in a professional manner, they can mobilize and create well-informed society that addresses violence responsibly.
· The nature of news does not allow journalists to disregard stories about conflicts and violence, but when covering such stories journalists must provide the audience with a bigger picture on the problem.
· Media must assist audience in understanding the domestic violence from the human rights and legal perspective and have the audience avoid stereotypical perception of such instances of violenceas those of "crimes of honor” because the domestic violence is a crime, not an "internal family problem".
· It is important that media avoid re-victimization of victims of violence; respect their rights and present the crime not as a separate incident but as part of the process.
· It is important that media is consistent in the coverage of incidents of such violence in terms of following up on legal proceedings as well as on victims’ handling post-traumatic period.
Media Development Foundation, MDF
Georgian Democracy Initiative, GDI
Georgian Young Lawyers Association, GYLA
Constitution Article 42
Tolerance and Diversity Institute, TDI
Georgian Reforms Association, GRASS
European Centre for Minority Issues, ECMI
International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy, ISFED
Human Rights Education and Monitoring Center, EMC
Transparency International Georgia, TI
Other NGOs joined the address:
Association "Peaceful and Business Caucasus"
Women’s Information Centre
Association "Green Alternative"
Election Environment Development Centre
Levan Mikeladze Foundation
Community Foundation "Adgilis Deda"