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Civil society organisations working on women’s rights came together on International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

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Domestic violence against women is a human rights violation that knows no geographical, age, race or class boundaries.

The European Union and the Council of Europe’s joint actions “Fostering women’s access to justice in Turkey” and “ROMACTED-II Promoting Good Governance and Roma Empowerment at Local Level” brought together in Ankara the civil society organisations (CSOs) working on women’s rights and the Roma community on the occasion of the 25 November, International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and the beginning of the 16 Days of Activism against gender-based violence.

Representatives from women and Roma local CSOs had the opportunity to exchange views on promoting women rights and women empowerment and to discuss the challenges faced by women in accessing justice and the concrete actions that can be taken to overcome them.

Pınar Başpınar, Head of the Council of Europe Programme Office in Ankara ad interim, highlighted that violence against women is one of the most widespread human rights violations in the world and must be combated. “We know that civil society organisations are actively working locally with women and vulnerable people to help them access their rights. We hope that this event will create synergies between the two projects and provide an opportunity to exchange views on women’s rights and women’s empowerment with representatives of women’s CSOs and local Roma CSOs”, said Başpınar.

Alexander Fricke, Head of Section of Civil Society, Fundamental Rights, Judiciary and Home Affairs, Delegation of the European Union to Türkiye noted:“Gender equality is a fundamental right and a priority issue in the context of the European Union’s external relations. The EU progress has achieved an equal treatment legislation and gender mainstreaming and specific measures for women. With the 16 Days of Activism taking place now for 31 years since 1991, we see the change in the world, and we know that the acceleration of our efforts is much needed to reach our commitments.”

Eleni Tsetsekou, Head of Division Roma and Travellers Team, noted: “We contribute to the mainstreaming of gender equality issues within the Strategic Action Plan on Roma and Traveller Inclusion (2020-2025) by promoting the empowerment of women and girls in all spheres, including political life, supporting international Roma women’s networks, and addressing reproductive rights, domestic violence and early marriages or human trafficking within Roma and Traveller communities. Through the ROMACTED Programme, we aim to address various shortcomings at local level and reinforce the culture of democratic governance to foster community empowerment and inclusion in general, and Roma women’s empowerment in particular.

Marta Becerra, Head of the Capacity Building and Co-operation Projects Unit at the Gender Equality Division of the Council of Europe, highlighted that On this activism day on 25 November, International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and launching of the 16 Days of Activism, we need to emphasise the role precisely of activists, civil society organisations. The dialogue and co-operation between civil society, public institutions and all citizens emerges is crucial for taking steps for women’s access to justice. On this important day, it is very meaningful that our project partners on Women’s access to justice come together with the representatives of the civil society organisations that are partners of the ROMACTED programme working with the Roma community in Türkiye. Our common works aims to ensure that people in vulnerable situations, especially women can equally access to legal rights, quality services and support mechanisms in Türkiye.

This activity was organised in the framework of the action on “Fostering women’s access to justice in Turkey” and ROMACTED Phase II Promoting Good Governance and Roma Empowerment at Local Level”, part of the European Union and Council of Europe’s joint initiatives.

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