Press Release: UN Women and the European Union launch a new initiative to focus on ending violence against women in the Western Balkans and Turkey


Media Contacts:

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UN Women and the EU will aim to reform policies in line with international standards, transfrom dicriminatory social norms and empower women and girls subjected to violence.

Brussels–The European Union (EU) and UN Women today launched a three-year regional initiative to end discrimination and violence against women in six Western Balkan countries (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo*, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia) and Turkey. The Programme “Implementing Norms, Changing Minds” is one more effort within the framework of the EU Year to End Violence against Women, and the EU-UN Women partnership to empower and protect the rights of women and girls.

Taking place at the premises of the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the EU, the event brought together EU and UN representatives, governments and civil society from the Western Balkans and Turkey as well as representatives from the Council of Europe, European Institute for Gender Equality and Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe to discuss the way forward for eliminating discrimination and violence against women and girls.

“In the European Union year to end violence against women, the European Commission is pleased to partner with UN Women to step up efforts to end violence against women in Western Balkan countries and Turkey. We will work together to support national governments and civil society, to accelerate protection, prevention and response to violence against women,” said Genoveva Ruiz Calavera, Director for the Western Balkans at the Directorate-General for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations of the European Commission.

“The Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention) is our anchor for this important initiative. Our goal is to work with governments and civil society in the region to implement legislation and policies in full compliance with the Convention,” said Alia El-Yassir, UN Women acting Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia.

The 3-year EU-UN Women programme, financed by the European Commission to the tune of 5 million euros, builds on the momentum created by the Istanbul Convention. 

Visit UN Women Europe and Central Asia website for the full press release and more information on the programme.

* This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of Independence.