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Kornelia Ninova, BSP: Boyko Borissov lied about withdrawing the Istanbul Convention

Kornelia Ninova, BSP: Boyko Borissov lied about withdrawing the Istanbul Convention

20 February 2018 | 15:16 | FOCUS News Agency
Sofia. Boyko Borissov has lied that he is withdrawing the Istanbul Convention, the leader of Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), Kornelia Ninova, told a press conference after a leadership meeting of the party, FOCUS News Agency reports. Ninova wondered what consensus Borissov would be seeking, given the lack of consensus within the government coalition and within his own party. “We will believe his words if at a meeting of the Council of Ministers tomorrow the government decides to withdraw the Istanbul Convention it submitted to the Parliament,” she added.
Kornelia Ninova also said that President Rumen Radev represents an alternative to the government. She supported the manager of the national health fund who was asked to resign over a requested budget update.
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GERB petitions Constitutional Court on Istanbul Convention

GERB petitions Constitutional Court on Istanbul Convention

8 February 2018 | 16:51 | FOCUS News Agency
Sofia. Ruling GERB has petitioned the Constitutional Court to make a ruling on the compliance of the Istanbul Convention with the Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria, FOCUS News Agency reports.
The documents were submitted by MPs Danail Kirilov and Toma Bikov and the petition was signed by 75 MPs from the GERB Group. The party also provided the court with the file for the ratification of the document at the National Assembly, as well as 8 reports made over the last 4 years with an analysis of the possibility of applying the Istanbul Convention. Danail Kirilov, who chairs the parliamentary Legal Affairs Committee, said that all opinions received in the legislative procedure, both positive and negative, were also enclosed.
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Minister Biser Petkov: Bulgaria needs more centres for victims of violence, as noted in bill for Istanbul Convention ratification

Minister Biser Petkov: Bulgaria needs more centres for victims of violence, as noted in bill for Istanbul Convention ratification

2 February 2018 | 15:35 | FOCUS News Agency
Sofia. Bulgaria currently has 23 crisis centers for victims of violence, mainly in the large cities, including 18 for children and 5 for adults, Minister of Social Affairs Biser Petkov told reporters in the parliament in regard to BSP’s idea for establishing such centres in all regions of the country, FOCUS News Agency reports. Bulgaria needs more centres for victims of violence, and it was mentioned by the ministry during the preparation of the bill for ratification of the Istanbul Convention, the minister added. The ministry is working on a project with European funds for a national survey about violence that will help develop indicators. “We do not have enough indicators to tell what the scale of the problem is and what needs to be done to help the victims of violence adequately, quickly and permanently, through specialised services,” the minister explained. According to the Social Assistance Agency, the number of victims of domestic violence was 584 in 2017, including 183 women, while the rest were children. “One of the commitments stemming from the ratification of the Istanbul Convention is the creation of social services, not only for crisis accommodation like now, but also for specialised advisory support,” Minister Petkov said. He declined to comment on the legal amendments proposed by BSP.
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Kornelia Ninova, BSP: I never voted “for” the Istanbul Convention

Kornelia Ninova, BSP: I never voted “for” the Istanbul Convention

2 February 2018 | 13:13 | FOCUS News Agency
Sofia. I have never voted “for” the Istanbul Convention at any international forum, either of the Socialist International or the Party of European Socialists (PES), the leader of the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), Kornelia Ninova, told journalists in response to media reports that none from the BSP group voted against the Istanbul Convention at a forum in Lisbon, FOCUS News Agency reports. “At the PES meeting in Lisbon, the entire Bulgarian delegation did not attend the voting,” she said, adding that the reason for their absence were bilateral meetings organised by the team of PES leader Sergei Stanishev.
Commenting on Stanishev’s visit to a local centre for victims of domestic violence and his support for the Istanbul Convention, Ninova denied any tension, saying they just have different standpoints. There is no disagreement with regard to domestic violence, she stressed. “We disagree on the texts that introduce a social gender and non-standard gender roles,” Kornelia Ninova said. BSP wants a referendum on the Istanbul Convention while proposing a series of legal amendments in relation to violence against women and children. Today the party proposed new amendments linked to the centres for victims of domestic violence, whereby each region in the country must have at least one centre.
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Zhelyo Boychev, BSP: Question for proposed referendum on Istanbul Convention was revised to stop speculations

Zhelyo Boychev, BSP: Question for proposed referendum on Istanbul Convention was revised to stop speculations

1 February 2018 | 09:54 | FOCUS News Agency
Sofia. The Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) has reformulated its proposed question for a referendum on the Istanbul Convention to stop speculations for being insincere in its desire for the referendum, BSP MP Zhelyo Boychev told FOCUS Radio’s Good Morning, Bulgaria block. He said the government had failed in organising a public discussion about the ratification of the convention, which is a sensitive subject for society. “This referendum and the related campaign must answer the questions that have been hidden by the government,” Boychev said, adding that the hope for ratifying the convention quietly without public reaction or discontent failed. The full responsibility for the ongoing chaotic discussion that creates fears in Bulgarians lies with ruling party Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (CEDB/GERB), he stressed. According to Zhelyo Boychev, GERB want the Constitutional Court to pronounce on the Istanbul Convention because they have no winning move and have committed to the ratification of the convention.
BSP now proposes the question: “Are you against the National Assembly of the Republic of Bulgaria to ratify the so-called Istanbul Convention from 11.05.2011?”
Their original proposal was: “Do you support the National Assembly of the Republic of Bulgaria to ratify the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence?”
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Danail Kirilov, GERB: We will refer the Istanbul Convention to the Constitutional Court, its decision will provide legal guidance

Danail Kirilov, GERB: We will refer the Istanbul Convention to the Constitutional Court, its decision will provide legal guidance

31 January 2018 | 12:44 | FOCUS News Agency
Sofia. “This morning, our parliamentary group decided to refer the Istanbul Convention to the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Bulgaria with a request to assess its compliance with the Constitution,” MP from GERB and chairman of the Legal Affairs Committee Danail Kirilov said at a press briefing in Parliament, FOCUS News Agency reports.
“The Istanbul Convention has been signed but has not yet been ratified by the National Assembly. The court’s ruling will provide legal guidance for the public debate on the Convention and will be useful to Bulgarian society,” Kirilov explained. According to him, the Constitutional Court will also answer one of the crucial questions related to Art. 46 para. 1 of the Constitution, which regulates marriage as a voluntary union between a man and a woman. “We believe that the ruling of the Constitutional Court will be conducive to overcoming the negative attitudes and speculations that this topic has given rise to,” Kirilov said.
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BSP reaffirms push for referendum on Istanbul Convention, revises proposed question

BSP reaffirms push for referendum on Istanbul Convention, revises proposed question

31 January 2018 | 11:44 | FOCUS News Agency
Sofia. There is no backdown on the proposed referendum on the Istanbul Convention, only a revision of the question, the leader of Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), Kornelia Ninova, told reporters in the Parliament, FOCUS News Agency reports. She explained that the party is about to propose a new question to ensure a valid result on the referendum. The new question is: “Are you against the National Assembly of the Republic of Bulgaria to ratify the so-called Istanbul Convention from 11.05.2011?”
The initial question was: “Do you support the National Assembly of the Republic of Bulgaria to ratify the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence?”
“We are not giving up on the idea for a referendum, the signatures are there. We are only editing the question,” the BSP leader said. “We know what most Bulgarians think, social surveys show that most are against the Istanbul Convention,” she added.
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Minister Tsetska Tsacheva: Bill on Istanbul Convention ratification was not withdrawn

Minister Tsetska Tsacheva: Bill on Istanbul Convention ratification was not withdrawn

26 January 2018 | 15:58 | FOCUS News Agency
Sofia. The bill for the ratification of the Istanbul Convention has not been withdrawn, Justice Minister Tsetska Tsacheva said after an informal meeting of the justice ministers of the Justice and Home Affairs Council, FOCUS News Agency reports. “It has become clear that those who have doubts need more time to read, to get acquainted with the documents. A conference will be held in Brussels on Monday, where we will again discuss the protection of victims of crime and the protection of women. One of every 3 women has been subject to abuse, according to statistics. We have unofficially commented on the ongoing debate within the Bulgarian society,” the justice minister told the press conference. She said that Bulgaria’s partners are aware of the local debate.
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Minister Krasimir Valchev: No changes to school curricula in relation to Istanbul Convention, nor “training in gender”

Minister Krasimir Valchev: No changes to school curricula in relation to Istanbul Convention, nor “training in gender”

26 January 2018 | 15:39 | FOCUS News Agency
Sofia. There will be no changes to school curricula in relation to the Istanbul Convention, nor “training in gender”, Minister of Education Krasimir Valchev told reporters. “There is no need for changes, and the convention itself does not oblige us to do any,” the minister added, quoted by FOCUS News Agency. He reminded that when the convention was discussed by the government, he was in favour of its postponement until all concepts in the document are clarified.
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Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva: Referendum should be about “for” or “against” domestic violence, as this is the point of the Istanbul Convention

Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva: Referendum should be about “for” or “against” domestic violence, as this is the point of the Istanbul Convention

25 January 2018 | 13:21 | FOCUS News Agency
Sofia. The referendum should be about “for” or “against” domestic violence because this is the subject of the Istanbul Convention, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva told reporters in the Parliament regarding the proposed referendum on the convention, FOCUS News Agency reported. The minister spoke out in favour of a broad debate that would include the victims of violence. “It will be good to hear the viewpoint of those to whom the convention refers,” Ekaterina Zaharieva said. “The good thing is that everyone is declaring they are not supporters of domestic violence. I want to make it clear to the public that this is precisely what the convention is about,” she added.
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With 74 signatures, BSP requests referendum on Istanbul Convention

With 74 signatures, BSP requests referendum on Istanbul Convention

25 January 2018 | 12:51 | FOCUS News Agency
Sofia. The Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) has submitted with 74 signatures a request for a referendum on the Istanbul Convention, BSP MP Zhelyo Boychev told reporters. According to the party, this referendum is even more necessary after the latest statement from Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (CEDB/GERB), FOCUS News Agency reports. Today GERB announced a postponement of the ratification procedure for the convention to allow for in-depth discussions. According to Boychev, the statement indicates that the issue is postponed but will be considered before the end of the Bulgarian EU presidency. “Given that the government and the majority failed to make a public discussion and clarification on this issue, we believe that a referendum and the prior public campaign and discussion will answer the many questions we are faced with by reading this Istanbul Convention,” he said.
The proposed question for the referendum is: “Do you support the National Assembly of the Republic of Bulgaria to ratify the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence?”
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GERB to organise public debate on Istanbul Convention

GERB to organise public debate on Istanbul Convention

25 January 2018 | 11:49 | FOCUS News Agency
Sofia. We will do our best in the next weeks to have a debate with the academic community, NGOs, experts to clarify everything that is related to the objectives of the Istanbul Convention and the opportunities it provides, Chairman of the GERB Group and party’s Deputy Chairman Tsvetan Tsvetanov said at a press briefing in the National Assembly, FOCUS News Agency reports.
“We do not understand the Bulgarian Socialist Party’s behaviour, they have previously supported the adoption of the Istanbul Convention. The public has been misled about the Istanbul Convention. We need more knowledge and information about its goals. I don’t think anybody in Bulgaria would oppose protecting women and children from domestic violence,” he said.
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Parliament’s legal committee approves BSP’s proposal to remove Istanbul Convention from agenda

Parliament’s legal committee approves BSP’s proposal to remove Istanbul Convention from agenda

24 January 2018 | 15:30 | FOCUS News Agency
Sofia. The Parliament’s legal affairs committee approved the proposal by the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) for cancelling the planned consideration of the Istanbul Convention, FOCUS News Agency reports. The removal of the point from the agenda was supported by 10 MPs, while 8 voted against it and one abstained.
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BSP wants referendum on Istanbul Convention

BSP wants referendum on Istanbul Convention

24 January 2018 | 13:24 | FOCUS News Agency
Sofia. The Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) will submit signatures tomorrow for a referendum on the Istanbul Convention, party leader Kornelia Ninova said at a briefing in the Parliament, quoted by FOCUS News Agency. The party proposes the question: “Are you for or against the ratification of the Istanbul Convention?” Kornelia Ninova said that the people could not pronounce on the issue if the government hurries and insists on the ratification.
Meanwhile, the party continues to propose legal amendments on domestic violence as a substitute to the ratification. “We continue proposing laws which fulfill the requirements of the Istanbul Convention as regards the violence against children. We believe this is the right way to really fight this violence. We are firmly against it and therefore we continue to propose these laws,” Ninova said, reminding that her party has already proposed amendments to the criminal code.
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Holy Synod calls on Parliament not to ratify Istanbul Convention

Holy Synod calls on Parliament not to ratify Istanbul Convention

22 January 2018 | 15:03 | FOCUS News Agency
Sofia. The Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church called on the National Assembly not to ratify the Istanbul Convention, saying it causes concern about the future of the European Christian civilisation, FOCUS News Agency reports. In its statement, the Synod said that the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, known as the Istanbul Convention, contains a new understanding of man as a master of oneself who follows one’s desires and passions to the extent of even determining one’s sex. According to the Synod, this understanding opens the doors to moral decay and spiritual death and is totally opposed to Christianity. The Synod states that the convention goes beyond the legal regulation on violence against women and domestic violence because it leads to a change in the worldview. It also states that the ideas of communication between sexes, of attitude towards religion, traditions, customs, education, etc. set forth in the convention contravene the basic beliefs of the Bulgarian people about faith, nationality, morality, honour, dignity, education and family.
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Kornelia Ninova: BSP proposes amendments to criminal code in line with Istanbul Convention’s provisions against domestic violence

Kornelia Ninova: BSP proposes amendments to criminal code in line with Istanbul Convention’s provisions against domestic violence

18 January 2018 | 15:21 | FOCUS News Agency
Sofia. The Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) is proposing amendments to the criminal code to transpose the provisions of the Istanbul Convention against domestic violence into Bulgarian law, party leader Kornelia Ninova said at a briefing, FOCUS News Agency reported. She stressed that the amendments reflect only that part of the convention related to domestic violence. The party proposes that domestic violence be regarded as crime instead of private offence as until now. This is the first of a series of legislative initiatives by the opposition party, Ninova said. Next week BSP will propose crisis centres in all regional cities. Ninova declared support for all measures against domestic violence.
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Manol Ruzhinov, Rhodope Hajduks organisation: Text of Istanbul Convention is no reason for concern

Manol Ruzhinov, Rhodope Hajduks organisation: Text of Istanbul Convention is no reason for concern

16 January 2018 | 14:44 | FOCUS News Agency
Sofia. The dispute on the Istanbul Convention is an attempt to seek sensation, Manol Ruzhinov, leader of the Rhodope Hajduks organisation, told FOCUS Radio’s Good Morning Bulgaria show. He has seen interpretations out of the context of the document, with the intent for public provocation. As a patriotic organisation, Rhodope Hajduks is firmly against any recognition of “third gender” in Bulgaria. “We see how the tolerant European environment engages us in unpleasant and unusual situations. You see what is happening with the migrants, from a seemingly harmless situation it has become a very big problem,” he said. He also commented that excessive tolerance nowadays goes beyond normal.
According to Nadya Kozhuharova from Animus Association, the Istanbul Convention will help thousands of victims of domestic violence in Bulgaria. Its ratification would create a systematic approach, she said, with protection of the victims, prosecution of the perpetrators as well as prevention. She pointed out that in many regions of the country there has been no case of domestic violence for the last 1-2 years, which shows that the problem is not identified and the victims do not seek help because of fear or shame. Although it focuses on domestic violence, the convention describes all forms of violence against women and proposes measures for all of them.
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Andrei Kovachev, GERB / ​​EPP: The Istanbul Convention is in no way bound to speculation about the third gender and family law

Andrei Kovachev, GERB / ​​EPP: The Istanbul Convention is in no way bound to speculation about the third gender and family law

13 January 2018 | 16:10 | FOCUS News Agency
Sofia. The Istanbul Convention is not bound in any way with third-gender speculation and family law. This was said in an interview for the weekly "Metronom" newscast aired by Radio Focus by the European parliament member from GERB/​EPP Andrey Kovachev. He stressed that the Convention only concerns cases of domestic violence and the protection of the female gender. "The fake news and the fact that some people draw conclusions from the media headlines lead to the spread of this fake psychosis. The Convention has nothing to do with other topics. The other issues are still debated by the countries in the Union, but again, the Istanbul Convention has nothing to do with the debate that has been held." Andrey Kovatchev made it clear that the Istanbul Convention is not an EU convention but instead one, created by the Council of Europe, that has been ratified by an overwhelming majority of the European Parliament. He expressed hope that MEPs would become more familiar with the convention before the discussions in the Bulgarian Parliament also begin.
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Philip Popov, BSP: The Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria is well ahead of the Istanbul Convention on the Protection of the Rights of the Women and Children

Philip Popov, BSP: The Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria is well ahead of the Istanbul Convention on the Protection of the Rights of the Women and Children

13 January 2018 | 11:24 | FOCUS News Agency
Sofia. The Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria is well ahead of the Istanbul Convention on the Protection of the Rights of Women and Children. This is what the Secretary of the BSP for Bulgaria Philip Popov said to journalists before the start of the BSP National Council, where the Istanbul Convention will be discussed, "FOCUS" News Agency reported.
"I think that the Constitution has this protection, and BSP has always defended the rights of women and children. We will now discuss the Istanbul Convention, "Popov said. He made it clear that when a Convention is ratified, it will take precedence over domestic law. "I think we should introduce such laws in Bulgaria that will ensure even better protection of the rights of women and children," Popov said. BSP MP Alexander Simov added that if the convention were to be ratified, some texts would have to change.
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National programme for prevention and protection against domestic violence adopted

National programme for prevention and protection against domestic violence adopted

3 January 2018 | 17:10 | FOCUS News Agency
Sofia. The government has adopted a National Programme for Prevention and Protection against Domestic Violence for 2017-2018. It aims to establish institutional mechanisms for coordinating and monitoring measures against domestic violence, raising public awareness, increasing the capacity of professionals and institutions responsible for implementing the measures, government press office said.
The government proposes that the National Assembly should ratify the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, which is one of the measures in the approved national plan. Such ratification will require changes not only to domestic violence laws but also to the Criminal Code in reference to gender-based crimes.
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Deputy Prime Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva: Ratification of the Istanbul Convention will not lead to a change to the Constitution or an obligation for Bulgaria to allow same-sex marriages

Deputy Prime Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva: Ratification of the Istanbul Convention will not lead to a change to the Constitution or an obligation for Bulgaria to allow same-sex marriages

3 January 2018 | 13:53 | FOCUS News Agency
Sofia. At today's meeting of the Council of Ministers, we adopted a draft bill ratifying the Istanbul Convention, which deals with domestic violence and any kind of violence against women and girls, Deputy Prime Minister for Judicial Reform and Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva said after today's Cabinet meeting, FOCUS News Agency reports.
Zaharieva recalled that the convention was signed in March last year, and since then an inter-agency working group has been discussing its texts. “The Istanbul Convention was adopted by the Council for Judicial Reform with absolute unanimity,” Zaharieva said. “We discussed the concerns of the Patriotic Front - I hope I and Minister Tsacheva were able to explain that the Istanbul Convention and its ratification will neither lead to a change to the Constitution nor to an obligation for Bulgaria to allow same-sex marriages,” she noted. In her words, the Istanbul Convention is extremely important as it will attempt to challenge gender stereotypes from a very early age.
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A convoy of loyal to Damascus groups in the Syrian province of Afrin. February 23, 2018;
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