WATERTOWN, Mass.—Earlier this month, Armenian authorities announced a domestic violence bill in Parliament. The proposed law aims to introduce criminal and administrative liability with regard to domestic violence in Armenia. On Oct. 24, the Armenian Relief Society (ARS) International issued the following statement on the proposed bill.
The Armenian Relief Society (ARS) welcomes the decision to enact a law aimed at combating domestic violence in the Republic of Armenia.
As a country that takes pride in having given women the right to vote during the Independent Republic of 1918—and also having appointed a woman to a diplomatic post at a time when women in most of the developed world did not have the right to vote—this bill comes at an important stage for gender equality in today’s Armenia.
Throughout our history, Armenian women have played a particularly important role, from leading as members of royalty during the medieval period, to participating in the national liberation struggle of the past few centuries, to constituting the foundation on which Armenian families and society were rebuilt after the Armenian Genocide—and generally playing vital roles in Armenian society, including in the present day.
Women in Armenia must be allowed to live a life without fear of violence and unjust treatment so they may assume their rightful roles as equal citizens of Armenia—and the world. Clearly, as a society, we must do everything in our power to ensure that every home is safe for all family members, and this law would be a major step toward breaking the cycle of domestic violence.
As an international humanitarian nongovernmental organization registered with the United Nations (UN), we recognize that achieving global gender equality begins at home and should be prioritized on the national, regional, and international levels. The ARS is committed, with renewed vigor, to be a champion for women around the world, and we stand ready to continue to implement and support initiatives to respect, protect, promote, and fulfill all human rights.
We strongly recommend that the Armenian Parliament adopt the bill for the eradication of violence against women, and continue to galvanize the political will necessary for promoting gender equality in Armenian society. Advancing women’s rights and inclusion must be a priority if we are to build a competitive economy and just society for current and future generations.