Ukraine needs greater support in addressing gender-based violence, says OSCE Senior Gender Adviser in Kyiv
KYIV, 25 March 2015 - There is an urgent need to enhance the capacities of Ukraine to address the issue of gender-based violence adequately, said the OSCE Senior Gender Adviser, Ambassador Miroslava Beham, as she concluded a three-day assessment mission to the country.
Accompanied by international expert Rosa Logar, the President of WAVE - Women Against Violence Europe, Beham met with government stakeholders and representatives of civil society and the international community in Kyiv.
"Preventing and combating gender-based violence and violence against women is an indispensable prerequisite for personal safety and security and thus a major contribution to the stability of a country," Beham said. "We welcome the efforts undertaken by Ukraine to tackle this issue in a comprehensive and inclusive way and the OSCE stands ready to assist the country in these endeavours."
Beham said that the tensions and hostilities have had negative consequences on the prevalence of domestic violence. Internally displaced women in particular have been experiencing increased incidences of violence with reported cases to NGOs such as La Strada tripling in recent months. Increased domestic violence in families of demobilized soldiers struggling with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and the lack of support services for these families is increasingly becoming an issue.
Allegations of conflict-related sexual violence were also discussed and the need was highlighted for more research in order to fully understand the scope of this issue in Ukraine.
"Violence against women is still a big problem in many countries - in peacetime and in armed conflict," said Logar. "Strengthening women's organizations as part of civil society is crucial to eliminate gender-based violence against women and girls in the OSCE region."
The needs identified during this visit will feed into renewed efforts to promote the ratification of the Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention) in Ukraine. The findings will also be used to support the work of the OSCE Project Co-ordinator in Ukraine as well as the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission's activities on the ground to address the identified challenges.