Lloga: Violence against women and girls must not be treated as private matter
Skopje, 5 December 2023 (MIA) - Violence against women and girls is among the most widespread human rights violations. It must not be treated as a private matter and there must be an appropriate criminal legal response. Therefore, it is necessary that our activities include the criminalization of violence against women and girls, Justice Minister Krenar Lloga told a regional conference entitled "United against violence - Enough!", held in Pristina on Tuesday.
Global data shows that more than five women or girls were killed every hour by someone in their own family. Almost every third woman has experienced physical or sexual violence at least once in her life. A staggering 86 percent of women and girls live in countries without robust legal protections against gender-based violence.
"With this year's Invest To Prevent Violence against Women and Girls campaign, we are joining 16 days of activism against gender-based violence, which was launched on November 25 on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and will last through December 10, when we observe the Human Rights Day," said Lloga.
The Justice Minister mentioned that North Macedonia was among the first countries to sign the Istanbul Convention in 2011, which entered into force in July 2018. The Law on Amendments to the Criminal Code was passed in February 2023, to align with the Istanbul Convention.
In addition to criminalizing gender-based violence, new crimes are being added to the Criminal Code, including femicide, i.e. murder of a woman or girl under the age of 18, mutilation of female genital organs, stalking and sexual harassment.
In order to prevent victimization, the Ministry of Justice said in a press release, victims of all forms of violence against women and girls need to receive timely and comprehensive protection through support and protection services.
"Promoting the system of access to justice for victims is a priority in the program activities of the Ministry of Justice. The Law on State Compensation for Victims of Violent Crimes was adopted in 2022," Lloga said.
The 2019 OSCE-led survey on violence against women in North Macedonia showed, among other things, that 45% of women had experienced psychological, physical and/or sexual violence perpetrated by a current or former intimate partner.
"A significant proportion of women in North Macedonia (37%) indicated that their friends would agree that a woman needs to obey her husband. Almost half consider that domestic violence is a private matter and should be handled within the family, and 32% believe that it is important for a man to show his partner who the boss is. These traditional beliefs pose a significant challenge to combating violence against women in North Macedonia," reads the press release.
Photo: Ministry of Justice