Welcome speech at the SYNERGY Conference

Dear all,

Good morning from Oslo! It is a great pleasure for me to be part of the opening of this important international SYNERGY conference to address violence against Roma women. Preventing and combating gender-based and domestic violence is a key part of the promotion of rule of law, good governance and human rights.

The Norwegian Government is stepping up its efforts to prevent and combat domestic violence, and international cooperation is an important tool.

The EEA and Norway Grants are Norway's financial contribution to reduce social and economic disparities in Europe.  The EEA cooperation helps to prevent and combat domestic violence in the beneficiary countries, as well as in Norway. The cooperation provides a better knowledge base for the development and implementation of national policies.

The Council of Europe is an important partner to the Grants in the area of gender-based violence. The Council of Europe Conventions on Preventing and Combatting Violence against Women and Domestic Violence, and on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings, serve as references and guidelines for the Grants.

The Norwegian Ministry of Justice and Public Security is a Donor Programme Partner in this area. Together with other donor entities, the Council of Europe, and the beneficiary countries, we have established the SYNERGY Network against Gender-Based and Domestic Violence.

Together, we make an important contribution to the UN 2030-agenda for Sustainable Development. ‘Leave no one behind’ is a commitment made by United Nations Member States to eradicate poverty, reduce inequalities and end discrimination. It prioritises the most marginalised members of society, and is at the heart of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Translated into this context:

  • We need to make prevention of gender-based and domestic violence a priority in all
  • We need to ensure that all victims have equal access to protection and support measures.
  • We need to ensure that all perpetrators are held accountable for their criminal actions.

These goals are not possible to achieve without the involvement and support of civil society. At this conference the voices of Roma women are strong. Today, you also will hear the voice of Ingeborg Larssen from the Sami parliament in Norway.

Today, the Norwegian Government makes it clear that Norway shall be a pioneer when it comes to the rights of indigenous people. It is an important task for the Government to ensure that crime does not occur and that individuals are ensured safety, good legal security and accessible services throughout the country.

I hope that the voices of women and men at this conference will inspire us all.

I want to give a warm thank to:

  • The Bulgarian Ministry of Interior
  • The European Institute Foundation
  • The Council of Europe
  • The Steering Committee of this project

You have all been crucial for this bilateral project between Bulgaria and Norway. This conference is a result of our common efforts.

I want to thank all of you attending this conference in Sofia today, sharing your expertise and experiences, so we all can improve our performances.

Thanks for your attention!