Calls for Effective Intersectoral Collaboration

Calls for Effective Intersectoral CollaborationCalls for Effective Intersectoral Collaboration

Lack of cooperation among relevant authorities and ineffective intersectoral collaboration hampers the fight to curb violence against women, said Vice President for Women and Family Affairs Shahindokht Molaverdi.

To be effective action across various sectors needs to be coordinated while harnessing the existing capacities for augmenting safety for women and girls.

“Immense capacity exists to counter the phenomenon (of gender violence), but due to discord and disconnect among the pertinent state bodies,” the efforts are curtailed, said Molaverdi at a conference on ‘Legal pathways to ensure women’s safety’ in Mashhad, Khorasan Razavi Province.

The event was organized to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women observed globally on November 25, IRNA reported. The day is the start of the United Nation’s 16-day campaign to raise awareness against gender-based violence, which ends December 10 on the International Human Rights Day.

Violence against women and girls is a grave violation of human rights. Its impact ranges from immediate to long-term multiple physical, sexual and mental consequences for women and girls, including death. It negatively affects women’s general well-being and prevents them from fully participating in society.

Women’s right to live free from violence is partially upheld by international agreements such as the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the 1993 UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

“Much remains to be done to turn the awareness of violence against women and girls into meaningful change,” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in his message on the occasion on Friday.

  Facts and Figures

In a survey done by the Persian language newspaper ‘Shahrvand’ earlier this month, 52.5% of the women respondents said they had been exposed to domestic violence in their married life.

The random survey of 200 married women in Tehran found that 37% had experienced physical violence, and violence against women was highest in the downtown areas.

In a 2014 case study in Tehran, out of 180 women who had filed complaints in cases of domestic violence, 128 refused to follow up on the legal proceedings, fearing reprisals for their children and for themselves after divorce, the news website reported.

  Protective Bill

Lamenting the fact that there is no binding convention to prevent acts of violence against women and girls, Molaverdi said the national document on protecting women against violence or the ‘Comprehensive Bill on Ensuring Protection for Women Against Violence’ is awaiting review by the government.

“Last year we proposed setting up a coordination council to oversee the activities and plans regarding violence against women, but the proposal was rejected,” she said.

The bill, Molaverdi hopes, will help reduce the rate of violence against women and girls. However, she said, a number of proposals by the Vice Presidency’s Office have been approved and are to be implemented under the next five-year economic and social development plan (2016-2021). The plan is awaiting approval by the Majlis.

Among them are criminalizing international trafficking of women and girls with harsh punishment, as well as alternative penalties for women offenders instead of prison. The judiciary has agreed to several suggestions for alternate punishments instead of imprisonment for drug-related crimes.

Over the past three years the government has made efforts to promote gender equality and protect women and girls from violence. The hotline 123 for social emergencies was set up last year to help women with counseling services at 180 stations across the country.

  Prerequisites for Safe Living

Noting that national identity is one of the basic prerequisites for citizenship and safe living conditions, the vice president said pursuing the matter of children born to Iranian mothers and non-Iranian fathers is one of the priorities of her office.

In September this year, the Majlis passed a single-priority bill on the ‘Optimization of Iran’s Immigration and Citizenship Laws’ as a legal amendment to the nationality law passed in 2006 allowing children born in Iran to Iranian mothers to apply for citizenship on reaching the age of 18, under specific conditions, including registration of parents’ marriage with the relevant state authority, and having lived in the country for five consecutive years.

The revision would grant nationality and citizenship to children of Iranian mothers and non-Iranian fathers provided the bill is endorsed by the Guardian Council -- the powerful body in charge of vetting all laws and approving candidates seeking public office.

Meanwhile, in cooperation with the Minister of Labor and Social Welfare Ali Rabiei, the vice-president has proposed a bill which aims to facilitate issuing of identity cards for children born to Iranian mothers and non-Iranian fathers in order to enable them to study and work.

“The bill is being perused at the government level by the Vice Presidency for Legal Affairs,” Molaverdi said.


Add new comment

Read our comment policy before posting your viewpoints