[Brussels, 27 November 2018] We are happy to share with you this mapping carried out as part of the European Women’s Lobby (EWL) project "Regional Forum for the Promotion and Monitoring progress of the Implementation of the Istanbul Convention in the Western Balkans and Turkey". The Regional Forum is part of the three-year UN Women Programme “Ending violence against women: Implementing norms, Changing minds” which aims to end gender-based discrimination and violence against women (VAW) in the region of the Western Balkans and Turkey. The project encompasses the countries of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYR Macedonia), Montenegro, Serbia, and Turkey.
The Regional Forum aims to establish regional dialogue and a functional knowledge sharing mechanism on the implementation and monitoring of the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (the Istanbul Convention) and Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) among Governments, women’s civil society organisations (CSOs), regional institutions and other concerned stakeholders.
Until recently, violence against women was considered to be a private issue. It was not criminalised and there were no policies prohibiting it. In the past decade, Governments in the region covered by the scope of the mapping, have adopted laws and strategies addressing VAW and gender inequality. The most significant improvements can be seen in the time period between the signing of the Istanbul Convention in 2011 and its entry into force in 2014. Despite many achievements in each country, there are gaps between the normative frameworks, formal commitments (shown by ratification of the IC and many legislative improvements), and the implementation of laws and policies, and concrete action taken to end VAW.
The methodology employed was a formulation of a desk-based research alongside numerous extensive interviews with CSOs across the region. The desk research included a literature review of relevant legislation, policies, and state, CSO and regional organisations’ reports. In each country, a specialist research consultant carried out the desk research and interviewed at least five women’s CSOs, ensuring that women’s voices are represented throughout the report. The result is an Executive Summary and seven country reports detailing the achievements and challenges, as well as good practices and lessons learned in each of the participating countries in relation to the implementation of the IC and CEDAW. Each country report contains recommendations for improvement in prevention, policies, protection and prosecution of male violence against women. The country reports are here.
The EWL would like to give special thanks to the many knowledgeable women from across Europe who made valuable contributions to this report: the EWL members and EWL Observatory experts who provided invaluable feedback throughout the development of this report, all the participants interviewed across the region; for sharing your expertise, knowledge and recommendations for this project, all the women’s organisations who participated in the consultative meeting in Skopje, July 2018; for your collaboration, wisdom and solidarity.
This report is dedicated to the women and girls of the Western Balkans and Turkey!