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OSCE strengthens regional co-operation to support domestic violence survivors in Central Asia

Recognizing the critical importance of addressing violence against women and girls in ensuring comprehensive security and stability, the OSCE hosted the third Regional Networking and Capacity Building Conference in Almaty, Kazakhstan, from 21 to 23 May 2024. The Conference that followed networking events in 2022 and 2023, further reinforced vital connections among women’s resource centers, civil society organizations, and other stakeholders in the region and marked a significant milestone in the Organization’s efforts to support domestic violence survivors in the region.

“Civil society organizations are the cornerstone of the fight against gender-based violence. Their on-the-ground presence and direct engagement with communities make them uniquely positioned to understand and address the needs of survivors,” stressed Dr. Lara Scarpitta, OSCE Senior Adviser on Gender Issues, in her opening remarks. “Therefore, sharing best practices among these organizations is crucial for enhancing our collective efforts and ensuring that survivors receive the comprehensive support they need," she added.

The conference brought together representatives from the five Central Asian participating States – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. Participants included representatives of civil society organizations providing support to survivors of gender-based violence, government representatives, experts and activists working on the issue, UN agencies, staff from the OSCE field missions in Central Asia, and the OSCE Secretariat.

Emphasizing the significance of addressing domestic violence, a representative from the National Commission on Women Affairs, Family and Demographic Policy under the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Alina Abbdrakhmanova, stated: “We, at the National Commission, understand that to combat violence, it is necessary to carry out comprehensive work, including providing women with legal and psychological support, helping them gain financial independence, introducing training programs, promoting women’s participation in decision-making and so on.”

Previous to the Conference, an online meeting was conducted in March 2024 to gather updates from participants and assess the needs for the in-person event. The preparatory session ensured that the Conference agenda addressed the current priorities and challenges faced by the participants. As a result, the three-day Conference featured networking and tailored training components. Training topics included the role of women’s civil society organizations in developing programs for perpetrators, capacity building on digital safety for activists, a study visit to a women’s resource centre/shelter in Almaty, and effective networking strategies.

The conference took place within the framework of the multi-year ExB project “WIN for Women and Men: Strengthening Comprehensive Security through Innovating and Networking for Gender Equality”. This project is aimed at advancing gender equality to achieve and maintain stable, prosperous, and peaceful societies in the OSCE area.

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