Panel Declares Violence against Women a ‘Global Disease’

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The JWF Women’s Platform took part in a recent panel titled “Laws on Violence against Women Presented by Women Judges,” which was a side event at the 57th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW57) held at UN Headquarters in New York on March 14, 2013.

It is not enough to regulate the laws needed to combat violence against women. We must make sure they are implemented correctly … Legal arrangments should cover people from all walks of life.

Dr. Burcu Kalkan Oguzturk, representative of the JWF Women’s Platform

The panel featured female judges and lawyers who described their perspectives on statutory provisions relating to violence against women and girls. The panel was organized by the U.S. Federation for Middle East Peace and co-sponsored and supported by the Islamic Development Organization and JWF.

Dr. Burcu Kalkan Oguzturk from Istanbul University’s Faculty of Law spoke at the panel at the invitation of the JWF Women’s Platform. She first briefed the audience on the legal steps taken to combat violence against women in Turkey.

Oguzturk noted the importance of Turkey as the organizer and the first signatory of the Council of Europe Convention on the Prevention of Violence Against Women, widely known as the Istanbul Convention. Turkey’s status as a predominantly Muslim country dispels the stereotype that Muslim countries are slow to fight violence against women.

“The importance of the Istanbul Convention is based on violence against women being seen as a human rights violation and on gender inequality being accepted as a fact rather than just looking at it as a social reality or problem,” said Oguzturk, who continued by giving information about new legal obligations pertaining to this issue.

Oguzturk explained how violence against women is not a problem specific to a region or a nation but should be treated “as a global infectious disease.” As such, Oguzturk said, “it is not enough to regulate the laws needed to combat violence against women. We must make sure they are implemented correctly … Legal arrangements should cover people from all walks of life.”

In addition to Oguzturk, other panel speakers and attendees included:

  • UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and his wife Ban Soon-Taek
  • New York Judge Elizabeth Lamb
  • Maryland Judge Cathy Serrette
  • Philadelphia Judge Doris Pechkurow
  • Harvard University Faculty of Law Professor Diane Rosenfeld

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