Now without pandering. Does the Council of Churches bless domestic violence?

Дата: 24 March 2017
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Yesterday All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations (AUCCRO) publicly opposed the ratification of the Council of Europe Convention on the Prevention and Combating of Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (Istanbul Convention).

As reported by Ukrinform, this was stated by Michailo Panochko, Chairman of the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations, during a round table.

“The All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations made two appeals – to Andriy Parubiy, Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada, and to Lyudmila Denisova, Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Social Policy. In these appeals we expressed our clear position regarding the ratification of the Istanbul Convention. The All-Ukrainian Council suggests that the ratification of the Istanbul Convention is inadvisable”, – said Panochko.

According to him, the Council of Churches took such position regarding the ratification of the Istanbul Convention due to the fact that the document does not provide for the possibility of warning about certain of its provisions concerning the concept of gender, both male and female, in its understanding and it in itself carries unacceptable threats for the institution of family and marriage in Ukraine.

Such statements on the part of the Council of Churches are inadmissible, since, in fact, this indicates that the church legalizes the domestic violence. So are convinced the activists of the All-Ukrainian campaign #ConventionAsPresent for the ratification of the Istanbul Convention and is conducted by the Amnesty International Ukraine and the Human Rights Information Centre.

“The position of the Council of Churches deserves to be condemned and such attacks only normalize domestic violence. If the Council of Churches believes that word “gender” threatens the institution of family, then they should take with women husbands have beaten and raped them. And they will tell that in fact institution of family is threatened by domestic violence”, – as commented by Marharyta Tarasova, activist of the campaign and a journalist of the Human Rights Information Centre.

“I am shocked by the wild ignorance Council of Churches representatives in respect to the issue of ratification of the Istanbul Convention. By clinging to the legal term “gender”, which is recognized throughout the civilized world, they blindly refuse to recognize the problem of domestic violence in Ukraine. If earlier they “pandered” with the public and parliamentarians by saying that they are not against the ratification of the Istanbul Convention and that they just simply have some caveats. Then now they openly say – no. But in fact they bless the domestic violence”, – as noted by Iryna Vyrtosu, coordinator of the campaign and a Chief Editor of the Human Rights Information Centre.

Deputies from the Equal Opportunities Caucus and gender activists are also concerned about the extent to which the church interferes in the State affairs, although the Constitution of Ukraine stipulates that the church is separated from the State.

In particular, on March 3, Kateryna Levchenko, the director of La Strada Ukraine, at a meeting of the public council of the Equal Opportunities Caucus noted that “the church becomes a part of government processes”.

As a reminder, activists of the #ConventionAsPresent campaign are collecting signatures on a petition to Andriy Parubiy, Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, and to Hanna Hopko, Head of the Foreign Affairs Committee of theVerkhovna Rada, calling for the urgent ratification of the Istanbul Convention.

The activists say the statistics are eloquent so as not to postpone the ratification of this international document.

According to the information provided by the Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine, 96,143 complaints related to domestic violence were recorded in 2016, of which 85,037 complaints were received from women.

Also according, to an analysis of calls to the national “hotline” for the prevention of domestic violence, human trafficking and gender discrimination, 34,758 calls on issues related to the domestic violence were received in 2016.

In addition, during 2015 the number of such calls was 2486, which indicates an increase in the number of calls by 14 times during a year.

“The topic of violence against women and domestic violence often operates with numbers and statistics. But we have to realize that the life of a particular person, his freedom and dignity is behind each figure. Therefore, we are continuing our campaign #ConventionAsPresent and collect signatures on a petition addressed to Andriy Parubiy and Hanna Hopko with request to do everything possible to expedite the process of ratification of the Council of Europe Convention on the Prevention and Combating of Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (Istanbul Convention). I want to emphasize that each signature is the most important contribution to our common struggle against violence in Ukraine”, – said Oksana Pokalchuk, Executive Director of the Amnesty International Ukraine.

Why it is necessary to ratify the Istanbul Convention:

– ensure proper investigation based on testimony of the victims and a fair trial in the court;

– ensure law enforcement bodies’ respect towards injured person at the time he reports injuries;

– create national telephone trust line;

– isolate the offender from the victim and guarantee safety of the victim;

– guarantee comprehensive assistance to the victim and effective punishment of the offender.

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