GENEVA (11 February 2016) – United Nations human rights expert Dubravka Šimonović will visit Georgia from 15 to 19 February 2016 to assess the situation of violence against women and girls in the country and gather first-hand information from victims of violence.
“I am grateful to the Government of Georgia for the invitation to conduct the first official visit to the country by a UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences,” Ms. Šimonović said.
“Violence against women continues to be one of the most pervasive human rights violations globally, affecting every woman worldwide”, she stressed. “States have a primary responsibility to take effective action to eliminate violence against women, so it is ultimately up to State authorities to make its eradication a reality.”
During her five-day visit, the Special Rapporteur will meet with Government authorities, civil society representatives and other stakeholders in Tbilisi, as well as Kakheti and Shida Qartli regions.
It is no secret, that art, including theater, are powerful tools for raising awareness about violence against women and girls (VAWG) and for changing public perceptions and attitudes towards it.
Following the Kote Marjanishvili State Drama Theatre, the Rustaveli Theatre, has now offered its stage for plays on the theme of violence against women. The playwright, Lasha Bughadze, says his adaptation of Aristophanes’ “Lysistrata” (directed by Davit Sakvarelidze), “was inspired by what is happening in Georgia, with regards to domestic violence and violence against women".
In his award winning blog "Become Lysistratas", he states: " Now is the time when nobody should remain silent and the victims of violence should not be left alone, face to face with a despot. We should stop perpetrators together. We should help the Lysistratas.…” (click here for the blog).
“Lysistrata” was first performed as a poetry recitation last year during the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence at the Mikheil Tumanishvili Film Actors’ Theatre in Tbilsi. After positive feedback from the audience, the performance has been brought to the biggest stage in Georgia. The premiere that took place on 8 December was attended by the First Lady, who has supported numerous initiatives to end violence against women and girls during the 2015 Year of Women (an initiative declared by the President of Georgia early this year).
Both, the original recitation and the big stage premiere of “ Lysistrata” have been supported by UN Women as part of the UN Joint Programme to Enhance Gender Equality in Georgia (funded by the Government of Sweden).
Since 2010, UN Women Georgia has been collaborating with artists, sportsmen, and the media on innovative actions to promote zero tolerance of VAWG. The latest play will be included in the regular repertoire of the Rustaveli Theatre and UN Women plans to assist in bringing the play to several towns in Georgia in 2016.
2015 marks the 15th anniversary of the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security and the last year of implementation of the first National Action Plan for 1325 in Georgia. In this context, UN Women in cooperation with UNDP and DPA organized an Open Day devoted to sharing the experiences and recommendations of IDP and conflict affected women and and their organizations.
"This is the meeting that stands head and shoulders above all other meetings organized by us, because this is a meeting with real people where we can discuss issues on the ground related to women's capacities to engage in peace building", stated UN Resident Coordinator Niels Scott as he opened the event.
The Open Days provide the opportunity for women in conflict-affected countries to voice their concerns and priorities directly to UN officials, and for the latter to stay informed on key context-specific issues. The event in Tbilisi brought together 40 representatives of civil society organizations, as well as the UN representatives. The aim of the meeting was to discuss the implementation of the first Georgian National Action Plan for 1325 and to give recommendations for the development of the second Action Plan, in effect from 2016.
Maya Rusetskaia, Head of Women's Information Centre, presented recommendations from a recent report summarizing priorities of civil society organizations in relation to the first national action plan. She highlighted especially the lack of budget allocated for its implementation, and the limited Government consultations with citizens affected by the conflict and living close to the Administrative Boundary Lines.the break-away regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
The discussion that followed focused on women's priorities in relation to the development of the second 1325 National Action Plan (2016-2017). Issues aired covered prevention of conflict and violence, participation in local planning and decision-making, economic empowerment as well as confidence-building between conflict-affected populations - highlighting the complexity of peacebuilding. Lack of access to information and health care services for people living close to the Administrative Boundary Lines were some of the specific concerns shared.
"We will analyze these recommendations and take them forward in different ways – some of them are not costly but require coordination, and others require investments. A lot of hard work by all of us remains to be done, to ensure women have fair share in building and enjoying fruits of safe and secure society”, stated UN Women Country Representative Erika Kvapilova at the end of the event.
The actions taken by the UN agencies in response to last year's Open Day will be presented in a report shared with the stakeholders, and recommendations from Open Days in 2015 will be carried forward by UN Women in its support to the Government of Georgia for the development of the second 1325 National Action Plan.
On December 1, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) and the Georgian Youth Development and Education Association (GYDEA), in partnership with the Georgian University (GU) marked World AIDS Day. The organizations did so by organizing an awareness-raising event on HIV/AIDS-related stigma, discrimination and ways of prevention. In partnership with Georgian AIDS and the Clinical Immunology Research Center, UNFPA and UN Women developed a public service announcement, promoting free of charge HIV counseling and testing services, to increase demand for these services among the youth and women ( video can be viewed on youtube channel)
December 1 was first marked as World AIDS Day in 1988, to globally unite in the fight against HIV, to show support for people living with the infection and to commemorate those who have died. Georgia currently belongs to the group of HIV/AIDS low prevalence countries (by 2015 there had been 5,328 registered cases of HIV, the majority of whom belong to the 29-40 age group). UNFPA and UN Women focus on promoting free HIV testing and counseling for youth and women, as part of an effort to support the development of integrated HIV, sexual and reproductive health services and to support HIV prevention with the aim of ending AIDS by 2030.
Prime Minister of Georgia, Mr. Irakli Garibashvili and UN Resident Coordinator in Georgia, Mr. Niels Scott signed on Friday the United Nations Partnership for Sustainable Development (UNPSD), which outlines the strategic directions of the UN activities in the country over a five-year period (2016-2020).
"Being a UN family member brings lots of benefits to Georgia,” PM Garibashvili said as he delivered a speech at the ceremony."We highly appreciate your recommendations and we are grateful for your continuous support.”
In times of crisis and emergency, radio can be a lifeline.
For people in shattered societies, or caught in catastrophe, or desperately seeking news, radio brings lifesaving information.
Radio can help in emergency response operations – and it can assist with rebuilding.
Through community radio, local people can raise their voices and be heard.
This year, as we start carrying out the Sustainable Development Goals, let us resolve to use radio for human progress.
In the lead-up to the World Humanitarian Summit this May, let us find ways for radio to do even more to help people in emergencies.
On this World Radio Day, let us resolve to prove that radio saves lives.more