International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

Serbia celebrated the 10th anniversary since family violence in Serbia was criminalized in 2012. The problem of family violence has left the realm of the women’s CSOs, becoming a wider social issue.
On this occasion, the Commissioner spoke on family violence at the first public hearing of the Parliament’s Committee for Human and Minority Rights, stating that the sentences and measures for protecting victims are insufficient to eradicate this behavior.
The experience of countries with established efficient systems of protection show it is necessary to work on detecting the root causes and on changing the mindset of professionals, institutions, and the general public about this problem. This requires a new regime of gender relationships based on equality, and successful implementation of laws and regulations.
Each case of discrimination against women that is resolved, regardless of the field in which it occurs, contributes to a society that sees violence against women as a shameful violation of human rights – the only way it should be seen. Each resolved case shows that the circle of violence can be broken, when such violence is not only successfully suppressed, but punished as well, and that the victims are offered much needed socio-economic assistance.
“We need to know that the state, and its institutions, bear the responsibility to establish an effective and efficient system for prevention and suppression of family violence, and protection of victims,” said the Commissioner.
As a part of the “16 Days of Activism” action, a symbolic memorial plaque was placed at Republic Square in Belgrade on November 25, to commemorate all the women who have been victims of family and partner violence.
In 1999, the United Nations General Assembly designated 25 November as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. The premise of the day is to raise awareness of the fact that women around the world are subject to rape, domestic violence and other forms of violence, and that the scale and true nature of the issue is often hidden.
Historically, the date came from the brutal assassination in 1960 of the three Mirabal sisters, political activists in the Dominican Republic.
The date also marks the start of the “16 Days of Activism” that lead up to Human Rights Day on 10 December.

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