Campaign Against Domestic Violence Kicks Off Around Georgia

The world came together at the United Nations (UN) HQ two months ago to agree on the new Sustainable Development Goals agenda, committing globally to specific targets on ending violence against women for the first time.

“The message from experience across nations is clear - if women and girls, who represent half of all human potential, are not able to fully realize their rights and aspirations in all spheres of life, free from violence and all forms of discrimination, socio- economic development will be impeded – and no country is excepted,” Shombi Sharp, Deputy Head of UNDP in Georgia said.

A series of public meetings is being organized by the Swiss Cooperation Office for the South Caucasus and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in cooperation with the Public Defender’s Office of Georgia and Anti-Violence Network of Georgia. Photo: UNDP Georgia. These meetings focus on violence against women in the six regional administrative centers of the country in December, as part of the UN worldwide ongoing 16-day campaign against gender based violence.

The first such meeting was held in Ambrolauri, Racha, on December 1st, followed by meetings in Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti, Racha-Lechkhumi – Kvemo Svaneti, Guria, Imereti, Mtskheta-Mtianeti and Kvemo Kartli, with local civil servants, civil society representatives, students and activists coming together to discuss the reasons behind violence against women in Georgia and ways to prevent it.

The participants watched a documentary “Speak Out!” which featured true stories of domestic violence survivors in Georgia which was filmed in 2014 by Georgian film director, Zurab Inashvili with support from UN Women and the Georgian National Film Center.

According to the Deputy Head of UNDP in Georgia it is encouraging to see people embracing the understanding about both fundamental human rights for women and girls and a better life for all, men and boys alike.

“Through a series of public discussions in different regions of Georgia, we are helping break the silence and offering opportunities for non-governmental organizations, local authorities and citizens to speak out and take action. After the first dialogue in Racha, we can already see that public interest is very high. People are writing to us from all over Georgia asking to organize similar discussions in their communities,” Sharp said.

He emphasized Georgia’s achievements in terms of gender equality, fighting discrimination and gender based violence, and the President declared this the Year of Women and Gender Equality.

“But a lot of work remains in translating this framework into real change in communities and households across the country as women continue to face serious issues of inequality and vulnerability to gender based and domestic violence,” Sharp said.

Tamar Svanidze

03 December 2015 21:23