Why Are Republicans Concerned about Domestic Violence Bill?

    • Society - 31 October 2017, 23:27
The provisions on fight against breach of women’s rights included in the bill on domestic violence prevention and protection of victims of domestic violence which are related to psychological violence are not acceptable to the representatives of the government, says the coordinator of the Coalition Against Violence on Women Zara Hovhannisyan in an interview with Lragir.am.

Note that the deputy speaker of the National Assembly Edward Sharmazanov has announced that the first draft of the bill is deemed controversial by Republicans.

He said many of his fellow party members have concerns and the party will soon present its recommendations.

“The Republican Party is a conservative party, we support the traditional national family. And the provisions that will contradict to our Constitution and the traditional national values, are controversial, we must discuss [them] and come up with new approaches,” Sharmazanov said.

Zara Hovhannisyan says this statement is evidence that the representatives of the government do serious psychological violence against their wives and use economic restrictions. Eventually, this ends up in major breaches of women’s rights, in most extreme cases also serious dangers and harm.

In its statement the Public Council expressed concerns about some provisions, concluding that haste in adoption of the bill may be risky.

Zara Hovhannisyan says the representatives of the government have several concerns. Two of them concern economic and psychological violence against women because most men control their wives, prevent them from working in one place or another. The other controversial provision is that allowing a police officer to use sanctions and remove a violator from his or her apartment.

“This is unacceptable for the government but all human rights activists know very well that the European Court of Human Rights has passed rulings disproportional actions when a country placed the right to property above the right to life. Whenever sanctions were not used, a wife became victim of domestic violence,” Zara Hovhannisyan says.

She notes that the bill may be revised and weakened in the result of the noise by the government representatives.

“The provisions which, we think, are not strong enough, may be weakened, which is a serious backtracking for organizations protecting women’s rights. At that time, we will start racketing that this law will not serve its purpose,” she says.

Note that the author of the bill is the Ministry of Justice which has organized public hearings. Minister Davit Harutiunyan supported the law and underlined the importance of its adoption.

According to Zara Hovhannisyan, there is consensus between the ministry and the civil society over this bill but the defenders of women’s rights think that some provisions must be further strengthened.

“The bill itself is based on a significant compromise. Domestic violence is not criminalized, all the social services which are costly are not envisaged. A police office can go into a family with a social worker but the bill involves only the police officer. The bill is weak in terms of resources. Further weakening means that the law loses its impact, purpose and importance,” she says.