Bulgaria Signs Istanbul Convention on Preventing Violence Against WomenBulgaria in EU | April 21, 2016, Thursday // 16:38| views
Justice Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva (R) and Secretary General of the Council of Europe Thorbjorn Jagland. Photo: justice.government.bg
Justice Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva has signed on behalf of Bulgaria the Istanbul Convention of the Council of Europe on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence.
The signing ceremony took place in the presence of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe Thorbjorn Jagland, who is in Sofia for a conference of justice ministers of Council of Europe member states, the Justice Ministry announced on Thursday.
By signing the Istanbul Convention Bulgaria commits to taking measures to prevent and tackle all forms of violence stremming from gender inequality, the ministry said in a statement.
Joining the Istanbul Convention is among the priorities of Bulgaria during the country’s current chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe (November 2015-May 2016).
Progress in justice reform in Bulgaria was high on the agenda of Thursday’s talks between Zaharieva and Jagland.
The refugee crisis in Europe and detentions of migrants by vigilante groups in Bulgaria were also discussed at the meeting.
Jagland said that he appreciated Bulgaria’s plans to reform the justice system and actions aimed at improving conditions in Bulgarain prisons.
"The conference has been a priority in my work for a long time, as the number of complaints to the European Court of Human Rights depends directly on the efficiency of the judicial system," Jagland said, according to the statement.
Bulgaria has been reforming its judiciary for 25 years and the Supreme Judicial Council has already undergone a third reform, Zaharieva noted.
“I hope that we have found the right path this time,” she added.
Zaharieva also said that Bulgaria has already renovated nine prisons with funding from the Norwegian Financial Mechanism and another three with funds from the state budget. In two years’ time all prisons in Bulgaria are expected to meet European criteria and provide decent living conditions to inmates.
As for the so-called civic groups of “migrant hunters”, Bulgaria had brought to justice two of their leaders over unlawful detention of migrants, Zaharieva told Jagland, according to the statement.