Sunday, July 19, 2009

Diyarbakır's Demirtaş Aims to Protect Women

From Bianet:
Abdullah Demirtaş, mayor of the Sur municipality in the southeastern city of Diyarbakır, has collaborated with Vezir Perişan, president of the Diyarbakır branch of the trade union for municipal workers (Belediye-İş) in order to implement a collective labour agreement that includes sanctions against domestic violence.

According to this new labour agreement, which was amended on 1 July, municipal staff who treat their spouses or children violently will have half of their wages deducted, and it will be paid to the spouses. In addition, any payments due to an employee on resignation will also be paid to the spouse. Should a person have contracted more than one marriage (i.e. one official and other religious marriages), the payments will be made to the officially married spouse.
Demirtaş' labor plan also encourages municipal employees to learn other languages, including English, Armenian, and Kurdish (both Kurmanci and Zaza). Kurdish-speaking women have long been disadvantaged since several speak little to no Turkish and have difficulty attaining municipal services. Inability to speak Kurdish exacerbates problems of domestic violence. The New York Times Magazine ran a profile of the mayor in February 2008.

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