Tag Archives: violence

On 25 November the world stood together against gender-based violence (GBV) by launching the ’16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence’ international campaign. This is an annual event which invites individuals and organisations to hold events aiming to draw public attention to this issue.
Representatives of the international community gathered to start the campaign and raise awareness about the verbal and physical violence and abuse that Armenian women and girls face. They also renewed their commitment to working with Armenian partners to protect the rights of women and girls, as well as to promoting women’s empowerment in Armenia.

ars_8098Dirk Lorenz, the Acting Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia, welcomed the launch of the campaign: ‘Domestic violence and violence against women continue to be serious challenges. We are ready to help Armenia, and that’s why we have implemented the first human rights budget sector support programme. We are contributing to reform efforts, one of which is the adoption of the Law on Domestic Violence. While we welcome the efforts of the Armenian government, we feel that the situation is not progressing as quickly as we had hoped. We are looking forward to seeing a new Draft Law on Domestic Violence and renewed energy towards completing this process’.
Bradley Busetto, the UN resident Coordinator in Armenia, delivered a joint statement on behalf of the United Nations Armenia office, the US and UK Embassies, the OSCE office in Yerevan, and the Council of Europe Office in Yerevan.
On 2 December, within the framework of the campaign, the EU Delegation to Armenia held events in Vanadzor. That day Ambassador Piotr Świtalski met with Euroclub members, students and CSOs in Vanadzor. The Ambassador discussed domestic violence in Armenia and answered participants’ questions.
Ambassador Świtalski later attended the “Music plays against Domestic Violence” classical concert with Aram Khachaturian trio in Vanadzor, where he shared the EU’s vision for women’s empowerment in the country: ‘When you look at legislation in Armenia, women enjoy equal rights. However, in reality, pressure, discrimination and outdated thinking is still prevalent against women. The European Union promotes women’s empowerment – women are the biggest unused potential in Armenia. Therefore,we want to support the involvement of women in politics, business and all other sectors. It’s not a coincidence that most of the pieces of music we will hear tonight have been composed by women’.
The ‘16 Days of Activism’ campaign runs from 25 November, International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, until 10 December, International Human Rights Day.

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For many years civil society organisations, activists, individuals have been fighting for having Law on Gender-Based Violence in Armenia. The Coalition to Stop Violence Against Women together with its lawyers drafted a law and presented it to the Ministry of Justice years ago; however, there was no progress with the initiative.
The European Union has offered Armenia human rights budget support for 2017 with conditionalities attached, one of which is that the country adopts a law on gender-based violence in 2016. This condition reflects the importance of stopping violence against women, a value to which the EU strongly prescribes and which it promotes both at home and abroad.
On 14 October 2016, the Ministry of Justice organised a consultation with civil society organisations to engage in the process of drafting and defining the key elements of a law on gender-based violence.
The meeting was moderated by the Deputy Minister of Justice, Vigen Kocharyan, who welcomed this participatory process: ‘This draft law was prepared by a special group and initiated by the Armenian government. This is the first draft to be discussed with CSO representatives. Their years of practice and experience will be highly relevant. We welcome criticism, but mostly we want to listen to what civil society has to offer, both conceptually and detailed analysis of the provisions of the law itself. We are open for dialogue and, while this consultation is the first, it will not be the last’.
CSOs represented included different NGOs and members of Coalition to Stop Violence Against Women. Susanna Vardanyan, Head of the Women rights Centre and a member of the Coalition, welcomed the invitation: ‘We appreciate this meeting and initiative, as we have been fighting for this issue for many, many years. We are happy that the initial draft which we prepared and presented to the government has been partly reflected in the new version. We have discussed it with our lawyers, and prepared some offers and observations’.
The meeting concluded with the decision to organise a second consultation with CSO representatives once the feedback has been incorporated and the draft finalised to engage in a final round of discussions.

A presentation of the project called “Advancing Gender Equality and the Rights of Survivors of Gender-based Violence in Armenia” and working discussion with project beneficiaries took place on 28 April in Spitak at the “Spitak Helsinki Group” NGO’s office. This project is being financed by the EU and implemented by the Near East Foundation UK and the Gegharkunik Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The project will be implemented in Yerevan, Syunik and Lori regions to improve protection, gender equality, agency, and economic independence for women survivors of gender-based violence (GBV).
The official launch of the project was in February 2015 in Yerevan, and the implementing organisations are raising awareness on the project in other regions of Armenia. The first event was in Spitak, Lori region.
The Project Director, Arpine Baghdoyan, presented the project, its activities, timeframe, and the expected impact. The aim of the project is to help 200 GBV-survivors be more employable, gain small business skills, and access economic opportunities safely. As a result of the project, 60 women will be offered tailored vocational training with accredited certificates; 120 will receive targeted business and financial support to start their own micro-businesses; 80 will be offered tailored employment development support. The project is aimed at increasing confidence and self-reliance amongst survivors, so that women can make the choices and shape the choices that affect their lives effectively.
2Z4A9774The “Advancing Gender Equality and the Rights of Survivors of Gender-Based Violence in Armenia” project will be implemented with four partner civil society organisations. Their role is to engage the public, support groups, employers, and other civil society and market actors across many sectors in joint actions, dialogue, and training on the norms, safe workspaces, and protection strategies linked to economic opportunities. The project will build commitment to preventing GBV and promoting gender equality among community leaders and employers.
The project is due to be completed by 20 January 2017; it has an overall budget of €342,711; 95% of the budget is funded by the EU.

The launch of the project called “Advancing Gender Equality and the Rights of Survivors of Gender-based Violence in Armenia” was held on 19 February 2015 at the Imperial Palace Hotel in Yerevan. This project is financed by the EU and is being implemented by the Near East Foundation UK and the Gegharkunik Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The main goals of the project are: to deliver economic development programmes that support gender equality and protect women against gender-based violence; to help survivors of violence to become a complete part of their community and be involved in community life; to provide women with the opportunity to work in or start their own small businesses.
ARS_2018During the event Arpine Baghdoyan, the project’s director, presented its main foci and expected results: ‘For the implementation of the programme we have chosen four partner civil society organisations (CSOs): Women’s Support Centre, Spitak Helsinki Group, Women’s Resource Centre, and Goris Women’s Development Resource Centre Foundation. The target group of our project will be CSOs, 200 survivors of gender-based violence, 100 community members, and 80 employers of survivors. During the project, four CSOs will engage the public, support groups, employers and other market actors across many sectors in joint actions, dialogue and training around norms, safe workplaces and protection strategies linked to economic opportunities’.
ARS_2052The Gegharkunik Chamber of Commerce and Industry is based in Gavar and aims to promote sustainable local economic development through market assessment. During the project it will provide business development, micro-credit and training to the beneficiaries of the project. Artyom Grigoryan, the Executive Director of the Gegharkunik Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said that the organisation had rich experience in implementing small business grants, and that its initial focus on Gegharkunik marz had now spread to almost all other marzes in Armenia: ‘We pay great attention to the issue of women’s employment – it is a particular problem in villages. While there are a lot of job opportunities in Yerevan, there are very few opportunities in rural areas. Our own experience shows that women, for example, not only come up with more successful business ideas, but also have the agency to make them a reality. After our different training courses we run, men generally write business concepts, which are more difficult to realise, whereas women always write realistic and small budget ideas which can easily be implemented’.
ARS_2043The project named “Advancing Gender Equality and the Rights of Survivors of Gender-Based Violence in Armenia” will build commitment to preventing gender-based violence and promoting gender equality among community leaders and employers. Over a period of two years 200 survivors of gender-based violence will be offered assistance: 60 women will be offered tailored vocational training with accredited certificates; 120 will receive targeted business and financial support to start their own micro-businesses; 80 will be offered tailored employment development support. The project aims to increase confidence and self-reliance amongst survivors, so that they can then make and shape those choices that affect their lives positively.
The project is due to be completed by 20 January 2017, with an overall budget of €342,711. 95 percent of the budget is funded by the EU under the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights.