Equal access to justice for women: international conference in Bern

Bern, 15.10.2015 - Today, Federal Councillor Alain Berset gave the opening address at the Council of Europe’s international conference ‘towards guaranteeing equal access of women to justice’. Around 170 experts from over 40 countries will be meeting in Bern until tomorrow to share their experiences and discuss measures.

"Equal access to justice is crucial for the realisation of gender equality in all areas of life", said Federal Councillor Berset in his opening address. Observance and protection of women's human rights can only be guaranteed when women can assert these rights freely in court. An important requirement for this is that women have unimpeded access to justice authorities and legal counsel, and that they can expect adequate and effective sanctions when their rights have been violated.

"Access to justice is not only a fundamental right in itself, but it is also a right that is instrumental to achieving other - equally fundamental - rights", said Snežana Samardžić-Marković, Director General of Democracy, Council of Europe in her opening address.

Women's limited access to justice has not yet been sufficiently studied. Improved national statistics and data availability regarding judicial and administrative practice are particularly necessary. To illustrate, from 1998 to 2006, less than 20 per cent of all appellants at the European Court of Human Rights were female. Moreover, men make up more than 70 per cent of all appellants in gender discrimination cases.

The conference was organised by the Council of Europe Gender Equality Commission and the Swiss Federal Office for Gender Equality. It is the third and last event in a series of international conferences on this subject. The aim is to share ideas on how research gaps can be filled, and to discuss concrete measures for eliminating obstacles hindering access to justice.

Equal access to justice for women is a key issue in the Council of Europe's Gender Equality Strategy 2014-2017.

Address for enquiries

Ms Sabine Baumgartner, Communication officer of FOGE
Tel.: +41 58 462 68 43
Mobile: +41 78 819 82 55
Email: ebg@ebg.admin.ch

M Panos Kakaviatos, Media officer and spokesman Council of Europe
Tel.: +33 69 837 64 04
E-Mail: panos.kakaviatos@coe.int


General Secretariat FDHA

Federal Office for Gender Equality