Public Defender’s Statement on International Women's Day

March 8 is International Women's Day. The history of celebration of this day is related to women’s economic, political and social achievements, but it is important to remember that women face many challenges in terms of equality, while femicide, as the most extreme form of violence against women, is still an unresolved problem.

Although certain mechanisms have been developed to combat violence against women and domestic violence in recent years, the gender-based killings of eight women over the past two months and four attempted murders indicate that the existing system, which is largely reactive and implies the involvement of law enforcement agencies only after violence takes place, is not effective.

The statistical information on the cases of femicide committed in 2019 is tragic. Namely, 19 women were killed in 2019; 10 of the cases contained signs of domestic crime. In addition, there were 22 attempted murders and 18 of them contained signs of domestic crime.

The Public Defender’s Office, as a femicide monitoring mechanim, has been analyzing gender-based killings, attempted murders and suicide cases since 2016. The monitoring clearly shows that there are problems at the stages of both investigations and trials. Analysis of the cases of femicide clearly shows that femicide is a direct result of gender and social inequality in the society and it is important to ensure that the prevention of femicide starts at the stage of basic social services, such as health care and education.

The current situation clearly indicates that the involvement of law enforcement agencies alone cannot prevent femicide. Accordingly, I call on the Government to critically analyze the current prevention system in the context of killings that have already been committed, in a format of a special working group and with the involvement of all relevant state agencies, and to make efforts together with relevant agencies, including the Ministries of Health and Education, to develop and improve a prevention system targeting specifically femicide.

The Public Defender expresses her full willingness to cooperate with state agencies in addressing the challenges identified above.

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