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OSCE Chair’s Special Representative, in Armenia, encourages gender equality promotion

  The Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office on Gender Issues, June Zeitlin, during her visit to Armenia concluding today discussed the implementation of Armenia’s commitments to promote gender equality, improve women’s political and public participation, and address domestic violence.

 

 

Zeitlin met with Deputy Foreign Minister Ashot Hovakimian, Vice Speaker of National Assembly Hermine Naghdalian, deputy ministers and government representatives, civil society leaders, as well as members of the Gender Theme Group co-chaired by the OSCE Office in Yerevan.

 

“Armenia has been on a track to harmonize its national laws and policies, seeking to address equality and gender-based violence in a comprehensive and systematic way, and gradually increasing women’s political participation at all levels,” Zeitlin said. “Progress has been made, although we recognize that these changes will not come overnight. What is critically important is to adopt national legislation that helps establish norms in society to foster the recognition that women should have equal rights to men and that violence in the family is unacceptable and must be punished.”

 

The Representative noted that political participation of women in recent parliamentary elections somewhat increased to a bit over 10 percent and underlined the need for renewed efforts in the run-up to the 2014 local elections.

 

Commenting on recent public debates surrounding this issue triggered by a new law on equal opportunities and the adoption of a gender action plan by Armenia, Zeitlin said: ‘The term ‘gender equality’ is often misinterpreted and misunderstood. In a democratic society, a public debate on gender equality and women’s rights is healthy, but should be grounded in facts and evidence. Those making distortions and deliberate misrepresentations should be challenged by the government at the highest levels, as well as international institutions and civil society leaders.”

 

She commended the work done by the OSCE Office in Yerevan in promoting gender equality and women’s political and economic empowerment in Yerevan and in rural areas, particularly in the Syunik region, and pledged the continued support of the Organization in helping Armenia implement its international commitments.

 

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