'We Must Address Underlying Issues that Force Women to Commit Crimes'
Albanian Daily News
Published September 20, 2017
The OSCE Head of Presence, Ambassador Bernd Borchardt, said on Wednesday at the International Human Rights Film Festival Forum on Women’s Rights and Domestic Violence that Albanian society needs to address the underlying social and economic problems that lead women to commit crimes -- listing violence, moral taboos, social pressure, poverty or family crises as factors.
“Women are often both victims and perpetrators, at the same time. We must help them in abusive situations to seek protection and empower them socially and economically. And for those in detention, we need to focus on their rehabilitation and reintegration,” Ambassador Borchardt said.
Addressing an audience made up primarily women currently serving prison terms, he added the OSCE has been actively involved in protecting the rights of people in detention, encouraging the use of alternatives to custody, especially for women.
“I want to start with a fundamental truth a point that is often forgotten: everyone has rights. Yes, everyone, including those in conflict with the law, and it is the State’s duty to protect them,” Ambassador Borchardt said. “In the OSCE we believe that deprivation of liberty should be a measure of last resort, for many years now we have been actively involved in protecting the rights of people in detention, encouraging the use of alternatives to custody, especially for women.”
Addressing the issue of domestic violence in Albania, Ambassador Borchardt said breaking the culture of silence is very important.
“We have also campaigned against domestic violence and fought for breaking the culture of silence, by encouraging victims to speak up. Breaking the silence takes strength and courage, but women should know that there are people willing and able to help.”
The forum was part of a series of activities organized as part of the week-long the International Human Rights Film Festival in Albania, which is showing many movies on human rights across Tirana. The event is free and open to public, and the OSCE Presence in Albania is one of several official partners of the film festival.