The situation of women in the South Caucasus
Reply to Recommendation
| Doc. 11492
| 19 January 2008
- Committee of Ministers
- Adopted by the
Committee of Ministers on 16 January 2008, at the 1015th meeting
of the Ministers’ Deputies.
- Reply to Recommendation
- : Recommendation 1790
The Committee of Ministers has duly considered
Parliamentary Assembly Recommendation
on the situation of women in the South Caucasus
and concurs with the Assembly’s view that an effort must be made
to promote women’s participation at all levels of public and political
life. This entails, where necessary, continuing to encourage women’s
effective access to education, including higher education.
2. In the context of the assistance and co-operation programmes
for the countries of the South Caucasus, which the Parliamentary
Assembly welcomes in paragraph 2 of its recommendation, the Council
of Europe has implemented a number of activities, such as seminars
on balanced participation of women and men in political and public
decision making (for example, the Seminar on Women’s Participation
in Elections as Candidates and Voters held in July 2005 as part
of the Council of Europe action plan with a view to the parliamentary elections
in Azerbaijan). In the same vein, promoting women’s participation
in elections is one component of the pre-electoral assistance programmes
recently introduced for the benefit of the South Caucasus countries. Attention
could also be paid to this matter in the context of the future action
plans aimed at providing assistance to the South Caucasian countries.
3. As the Assembly underlines in paragraph 3 of its recommendation,
it is very important to mainstream a gender perspective in the activities.
Already in 1998, a message of the Committee of Ministers on mainstreaming
gender equality called on Council of Europe bodies to adopt such
an approach in their activities.
4. In response to paragraph 4 of the recommendation, the Committee
of Ministers recalls that, following its own declaration of 1988
and the declaration adopted at the 4th European Ministerial Conference
on Equality between Women and Men, held in Istanbul in 1997, gender
equality has been recognised within the Council of Europe as an
integral part of human rights and a fundamental requirement of democracy.
The Council of Europe’s action to promote equality between women
and men both in its member states and within the organisation itself
is founded on these two principles. The 7th European Ministerial
Conference on Equality between Women and Men, to be held in Azerbaijan
in 2010, will provide an opportunity to take stock of progress made
by member states in this area.
5. Concerning prison reform, in recent years, the Council of
Europe has run assistance programmes for Azerbaijan and Georgia
and a similar programme is to be launched for Armenia. It encourages
the three countries to pursue the prison and criminal law reforms
they have initiated, paying special attention to the application
of justice to women.
6. With regard to fostering women’s participation in conflict
resolution, as recommended in paragraph 6, the Committee of Ministers
could draw attention to the fact that this was the subject of the
5th European Ministerial Conference on Equality between Women and
Men, held in Skopje in January 2003 on the theme “Democratisation,
conflict prevention and peace-building: the perspectives and the
roles of women”. The resolution adopted at this conference called
for full participation of women at all levels of decision making
in local, national, regional and international institutions and
mechanisms for the prevention, management and resolution of conflicts,
including peace negotiations, and the democratisation of post-conflict
societies. It also pointed out that policies for women’s full participation
must be supported by the integration of a gender perspective in
all activities aimed at conflict prevention and resolution, including
peace agreements, the promotion of peace and construction of a democratic
society. As part of the follow-up action to this conference, a draft
recommendation on the role of women and men in conflict prevention
and resolution and in peace-building is now nearing completion.
7. Furthermore, in 2003, the Council of Europe provided assistance
to an NGO in Azerbaijan under the confidence-building measures programme
(project entitled “Training Programme Ethnic Minorities: Living without
Conflicts”) with a view to promoting conflict prevention and peace-building.
This type of activity could continue and even be intensified in
the region. Lastly, Recommendation Rec(2003)3 on balanced participation of
women and men in political and public decision making, adopted in
March 2003, also recommends, in paragraph 14 of the appendix, that
governments consider enhancing gender balance when appointing representatives
to international mediation and negotiating committees, particularly
in peace processes and conflict settlement.
8. As regards paragraph 7 of the Assembly recommendation, the
Committee of Ministers attaches importance to the participation
of all member states, including Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia,
in the Council of Europe’s campaign on combating trafficking in
human beings. On this matter, it recalls that seminars on the fight
against trafficking in human beings were organised in 2005 in Georgia
and in September 2007 in Armenia in the context of the promotion
of the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking
in Human Beings. It welcomes the action plans adopted by the three
countries regarding the fight against trafficking in human beings.
It also welcomes the fact that Georgia has already ratified the
above-mentioned convention and that Armenia has initiated the procedure
for the ratification of this instrument. The Committee of Ministers hopes
that this procedure will be completed rapidly. It encourages Azerbaijan
to sign and ratify the convention.
With regard to the Council of Europe Campaign to Combat Violence
against Women, including domestic violence, the three countries
of the South Caucasus have designated focal points and high-level
officials to develop their national campaigns.Note
Committee of Ministers encourages these countries to go further
by introducing political and legal measures in the spheres of victim
support and protection, data collection and awareness raising. It
welcomes the fact that Georgia adopted the law on domestic violence
in 2006 and in July 2007 an action plan on measures to prevent and
combat domestic violence, which covers the period 2007-2008. It
also welcomes the national action plan covering the period 2004-2010
on the improvement of the status of women in Armenia, which provides
in particular for measures to combat violence against women, as well
as the state programme on the fight against domestic violence adopted
in Azerbaijan for the period 2007-2011.