PES: We need concrete measures to fight violence against women

20/07/2018

Meeting at FES Bulgaria

A PES fact-finding mission, co-chaired by PES Secretary General Achim Post and PES-Women President Zita Gurmai, is on a three-day visit in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Meeting with host party BSP leadership, the programme of the mission also included a series of meetings with NGOs, academics, sociologists and political science experts. The mission concluded by visiting a support centre in Sofia, where members personally met and spoke with victims of violence.

The centre is managed by the ANIMUS foundation – an NGO with extensive experience in combating violence against women, in particular domestic violence.

PES Secretary General Achim Post said:

"We prepared this visit together with BSP. We had a very open and intensive dialogue. Representatives of the party attended most of the meetings. Bulgarian socialists committed to tabling legislative amendments concerning domestic violence, to fight for the opening of additional support centers for women victims of violence in all 28 district cities in the country as well as to securing their financial backing from the central budget."

Meeting with the members of the PES mission, NGOs highlighted the need for comprehensive state policy towards preventing violence against women and domestic violence. Among the proposed legislative changes is a mechanism to coordinate all institutions with responsibilities and activities in this field.

Mr Post added:

"As I mentioned, in Germany, the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence was ratified with consensus among all political forces in the summer of 2017. It has been in force for a year now and is a conscious state policy -- we do not tolerate violence against women. We at the PES firmly believe that the Convention is the most comprehensive and valuable framework for prevention of violence against women and it can change the people’s mindset about it."

PES Women President Zita Gurmai said:

"I know that in Bulgaria the majority of citizens also do not tolerate violence against women. PES and BSP remain on different positions when it comes to the ratification of the Convention, but we agreed of the need to undertake a series of measures to prevent violence against women and support women victims. As socialists, we ought to fight this phenomenon which still plagues our societies.

"We expect the commitments taken by the Bulgarian socialists to swiftly turn into new legislative initiatives in order to equip the state with the urgently needed tools to comprehensively fight violence against women and support women victims. We cannot accept that still today 1 in 3 women suffer some form of violence and would not be protected by the state and their laws."

The PES mission was co-chaired by PES Secretary-General Achim Post and PES-Women President Zita Gurmai. The team included also the President of the PES LGBTI wing ‘Rainbow Rose’ Sedef Çakmak (CHP, Turkey), the Vice-President of the PES youth wing ‘YES’ Kasper Vanpoucke (Sp.A Belgium), Rainbow Rose’s Secretary-General Jose Ángel Santoro, Konrad Golota, PES adviser on democracy policies in Central and Eastern Europe, and Lesia Radelicki, PES Women coordinator.