Corner Press release

8 March, International Women’s Day 08 March 2018

Facts:

- 78% of the victims of physical violence are women, while 98% of the perpetrators of domestic violence are men. Between 2008 and 2016, 70 femicides were registered, 15 of which took place only in the period between 2013 and 2016. Over ¾ of the cases of domestic violence have not been reported to any of the publicly available services.

- The most frequent cause for girls dropping out of school are early (juvenile) marriages.

- 81% of the employees in the textile, leather and shoe industry are women and they rank among the lowest paid workers with an average salary which is 35% lower than the average salary on a state level.

On International Women’s Day, the Helsinki Committee would like to express its concern over the situation with gender equality in the state, as it continues to only be a declarative commitment of the authorities. The women in the Republic of Macedonia are still facing discrimination on grounds of sex and gender across all societal processes, without being granted adequate protection of their rights.

Textile workers, women from rural areas, Roma women, women who are victims of violence, women with disabilities, are among the most vulnerable groups in our society. They are the ones that the state has not yet taken any substantive measures for, in order to improve their social status. Education remains off limits for a large number of girls, a fact which is due to the inaccessibility of the education facilities, as well as the drop-out of a large number of school age girls as a result of poverty or early (juvenile marriage).

The Ratification of the Convention of the Council of Europe on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, also known as the Istanbul Convention, is the most significant step forward that this Government has taken in the fight against the violence against women and domestic violence. Nevertheless, over the past period we witnessed several cases of violence against women, including a sexual assault of a juvenile girl, a protégé in the Public Institution Caring for Children with Educational and Social Issues “25 May” which are only an outward manifestations of a fully dysfunctional system for care and protection of women and girls.

Based on all of the above reasons, we demand that the state urgently start changing the legal framework and collect statistical data on registering all the forms of gender-based violence, to provide services to the women and girls who are victims of violence and to provide protection of all the women whose rights are violated on a daily basis.

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