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16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence starts in Kyrgyzstan
Tuesday, 27 November 2007

The focus of UN and ODIHR contribution to this year’s campaign is highlighting the vital role of law enforcement bodies in ending impunity for violence against women.

A wide spectrum of organizations are participating in the campaign, including the Presidential Administration, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the UN Gender Theme Group (UN GTG), the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), the OSCE Center in Bishkek, NGOs, networks and individuals.

On 26th and 27th November, as part of the 16 Days campaign, the UN GTG in cooperation with ODIHR - OSCE, conducted a series of activities to promote the need for enhanced measures to enable the law enforcement agencies to prevent and reduce gender-based violence.



Key events included:

  • consultative meeting on the role and competence of the law enforcement bodies in combating gender-based violence, with participation of representatives of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Office of Public Prosecutor and the Supreme Court;
  • meeting with representatives of the crisis centers and gender experts on cooperation with the law enforcement bodies;
  • press conference;
  • meeting with the cadets of the Academy of Internal Affairs.

The unique feature of this year’s 16 days campaign events was the visit of two police colonels from Austria, organized by UN GTG and ODIHR - OSCE. Karl-Heinz Grundböck and Walter Dilinger shared their experience of effective coordination between law enforcement agencies and intervention centers, as well as mechanisms for effective prevention of violence and challenges faced by the police in combatting domestic violence in Austria.

The discussion at these events highlighted the fact that, although Kyrgyzstan has made some progress in recent years in efforts to end violence against women by agreeing to comply with international standards and norms, adopting strategies, such as the National Action Plan for Gender Equality, and passing laws, including the Law on the Social and Legal Protection from Domestic Violence, impunity for perpetrators of violence still continues because social institutions, cultural norms and political structures sustain and maintain it.

In the words of Neal Walker, UN Resident Coordinator,, “Ignoring this problem, or not treating it as a serious crime and human rights violation, makes its eradication impossible. Even reducing the problem is difficult if it is not recognized as a criminal offence. It is clear that police and judiciary can play a crucial role in this context, whether positive or negative. I would like to think that in Kyrgyzstan, the role of the police will in future be wholly positive.”

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