THE PEOPLE’S REPRESENTATIVES OF THE 49TH NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
Regarding: The urgent adoption of adequate and effective legislation for the protection and prevention of domestic violence and violence against women
Dear People’s Representatives,
On April 2, 2023, the Bulgarians elected you as their representatives in the 49th National Assembly of the Republic of Bulgaria. On April 3, 2023, Kristina Atanasova disappeared without a trace, only to be found four days later in the trunk of a car, killed by the hand of her former close friend. Christina is the thirteenth woman to die in this way since the beginning of 2023! Or, at least the thirteenth one that the media reports on, because there are still no official statistics on women victims of violence in Bulgaria. Christina’s story is not just the story of a murdered woman, it is the story of a murdered mother, of a child left without a mother. This is the story of Christina’s family, the story of Christina’s friends. This is not just a personal tragedy, from now on it is the story of generations in the family of the murdered woman. Why is this tragedy happening? Why is a man already convicted of harassment and under investigation for arson left free to commit violence and murder? “This will be your last March 8,” he threatens Christina, and in less than a month he carries out his intentions. His crime was premeditated and planned, and a family was forever broken.
Dear People’s Representatives of the 49th National Assembly of the Republic of Bulgaria.
The country you have been chosen to serve is in dire crisis. Bulgaria could not exist without Bulgarian women, who are our/your mothers, sisters, daughters, colleagues and voters. Domestic violence is not a personal issue. Domestic violence is a national, public, universal human problem. Domestic violence is a violation of human rights. The lack of reaction and adequate measures by the state in recent years deepens the problem and allows the perpetrators of violence to feel unpunished for their actions. Inaction is transformed into a number of victims, not a week passes without another bloody tragedy. Displacing the debates from the essence of the problem with frankly populist statements aimed at distracting the attention of Bulgarian citizens with cheap spectacles only leads to an increase in the number of corpses in the morgue. The responsibility is in your hands. Shame of inaction too.
Therefore, we from the Bulgarian Platform to the European Women’s Lobby insist on an urgent vote by the 49th National Assembly on the Law proposed by the previous Parliament to amend and supplement the Law on Protection from Domestic Violence. We insist that the health and life of Bulgarian women, protection from domestic violence be set as a priority in the agenda of the 49th National Assembly of the Republic of Bulgaria. We insist on coordinating the actions between the institutions and the civil organizations in order to respond quickly and effectively, so that every subsequent similar case does not end fatally. We emphasize the pandemic nature of the problem, every third woman in Bulgaria is a victim of violence, and we insist on quick and adequate commitment and political will on your part. It is in your hands to prevent this kind of genocide against Bulgarian women as soon as possible.
Human life has no price, but the price the state pays is high. According to international institutions, the cost of domestic violence in Bulgaria for 2021 is 5.7 billion Euros. There is no country that could afford this expense, Bulgaria too.
We remind you that the majority of the member states of the European Union (21) have ratified the Convention of the Council of Europe against violence against women and domestic violence. In all these countries there have been positive developments in policies, protection and prevention of violence against women. States that have ratified the Convention report:
- 96% positive policy changes
- 83% positive changes in protection
- 70% positive changes in prevention
- 61% positive changes in prosecution
Bulgarian women and all citizens of the Republic of Bulgaria also deserve effective prevention, adequate protection, effective investigation and coordinated efforts between institutions and civil organizations to protect against domestic violence. Now all eyes are fixed on you in anticipation: “deeds are needed, not words”.
12 April 2023
Bulgarian Platform to the European Women’s Lobby