Article 26 – Protection and support for child witnesses of violence
Article 60 – Gender-based asylum claims
Article 38 – Female Genital Mutilation
Article 8 – Financial Resources
Article 24 – Telephone helplines
Article 25 – Support for victims of sexual violence
The Istanbul Convention
A new tool for NGOsscroll down
Nearly 50% of women working in European parliaments have received violent threats
Threats of death, rape or beating had been sent to almost half of female politicians and parliamentary workers from across Europe who were interviewed for a new study.
Read the article by The Independent.
The Council of Europe’s Group of Experts on Action against Violence against Women and Domestic Violence published its evaluation reports on Montenegro and Turkey
The reports contain an overall analysis of the implementation of the provisions of the Istanbul Convention. Read more here.
Morocco: Outcry after 'girl is raped, tattooed with swastikas'
Spain to introduce ‘yes means yes’ sexual consent law
Spain’s socialist government is to introduce a law on consent aimed at removing ambiguity in rape cases. Read more here.
Abortion referendum in Ireland: Yes with an overwhelming majority
Ireland has voted to repeal the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution, which bans abortion, by an overwhelming majority.
Passing on nationality to children should be an Arab woman's right
Governments in countries such as Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Syria must eliminate discriminatory legislation that allows only fathers to pass on citizenship to their children.
Read more on Middle East Eye.
How #MeToo Became a Global Movement
Women in 85 different countries are using the hashtag to bring attention to the violence and harassment they face in daily life and to demand change.
Morocco passes new law to combat violence against women
Morocco’s parliament ratified a law on Wednesday to combat violence against women after months of debate and discussion between political parties and civil society…
Read the full article on Al Arabiya.
The world's most dangerous megacities for women
In the first poll of its kind, the Thomson Reuters Foundation asked experts in women’s issues which of the world’s megacities are safe for women – and which need to do more to ensure women are not at risk of sexual violence and harassment and harmful cultural practices and have access to healthcare, finance and education. Read more.
Tunisia lifts ban on Muslim women marrying non-Muslims
President’s initiative secures Tunisian women’s right to choose spouse despite opposition from mainstream Muslim clerics.
Read the full article on Al Jazeera.
Video of Moroccan woman being sexually assaulted on bus by gang of teenage boys sparks outrage
Attackers laugh as they tear off victim’s clothes and insult her in Arabic aboard public transport in Casablanca in clip shared widely across social media.
Read the full article on The Independant.
Jordan repeals law allowing rapists to avoid punishment if they marry their victims
‘I feel like we’re living in a historic moment… all these years of campaigning have paid off and will send a positive message to the rest of the region’, rights activist says.
Read the full article on The Independant.
14-year-old girl joins dozens of Palestinian women in Israeli prison
8 Palestinian women and girls were arrested by Israel in May, the youngest was 14-year-old Malak Al-Ghalith who was held at a checkpoint on 28 May 2017.
Read the full article on Middle East Monitor.
Turkey systematically jails women as part of fear campaign, SCF report reveals
Thousands of women in Turkey, many with small children, have been jailed in an unprecedented crackdown and subjected to torture and ill-treatment in detention centers and prisons as part of the government’s systematic campaign of intimidation and persecution of critics and opponents, a new report titled “Jailing Women In Turkey: Systematic Campaign of Persecution and Fear” released by the Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) has revealed.
Read the full article on Turkish Minute.
International Women's Day: Combating Violence Against Women in the Euro-Med Region
On International Women’s Day 2017, EuroMed Rights wants to bring attention to the situation of violence against women in the North and South of the Mediterranean, by highlighting some alarming common trends as well as by informing about the different approaches in combating one of the most widespread and serious violations of women’s rights in the Euro-Med region. Read through our informative factsheets on Cyprus, Egypt, France, Morocco, Tunisia & Turkey.
Turkey: Men Kill 29 Women in January
According to the reports Bianet compiled from local and national newspapers, news sites and agencies, men have killed 29 women; raped six; harassed six; sexually abused 27 girls; inflicted violence on 23 in January. Read more on Bianet.
Egypt: Women Human Rights Defenders Treated as Enemies
On the occasion of the sixth anniversary of the Egyptian revolution of 25 January 2011, EuroMed Rights launched the report “In Their Own Words – Features of the Struggle of Women Human Rights Defenders in Egypt”, which highlights the immense obstacles faced by women human rights defenders (WHRDs) in Egypt since 2011. Read the full report here.
Tunisian Minister warns of alarming rates of violence against women, children
Tunisian Minister of Women, Family and Children Naziha Laabidi warned yesterday that violence against women and children in Tunisia has reached very alarming levels. Laabidi made her remarks during a hearing before the rapporteur of the Committee of Rights, Freedoms and External Relations in the Tunisian parliament. Read more on Middle East Monitor.
Victory in defeat: How the revolution changed perceptions of violence against women
Egypt’s sexual harassment epidemic was never featured in melodic chants in Tahrir Square in 2011, and yet while the main demands of the revolution remain largely unmet, the fight against sexual violence has made great strides in the last six years in what can be seen as collateral benefits of the momentum and temporary expansion of public space associated with the revolution.
Turkey’s ruling AKP proposes rapists be released from prison if married to victims
Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has brought a bill to Parliament that proposes rapists in Turkish jails be released if they are married to their victims, as in the case of child marriage, a way out of prison for more than 4,000 inmates convicted of rape. Read the full article on Turkish minute.
Campaign launch event in Tunisia
On Friday 14 October, EuroMed Rights and its member and partner organisations launched their campaign on the Istanbul Convention through a public event in Tunis. On this occasion, the Tunisian athlete and Olympic champion, Habiba Ghribi, was present to launch the campaign as its Tunisian ambassador. A short video and a debate followed with representative of EuroMed Rights, the GREVIO and key Tunisia Civil Society organisations (AFTD, Beity, AFTURD).
The Istanbul Convention in brief
Violence is not fate, it is a cause and a consequence of historical inequalities between women and men.
We are in the 21st century and yet, whether in the private sphere or the public sphere we witness unacceptable acts of gender-based violence on a daily basis. However, a Convention by the Council of Europe specifically targeting violence against women and domestic violence was established on 11 May 2011: 'The Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence.'
Legally binding for the countries that ratify it, the Istanbul Convention addresses all forms of violence against women, including domestic violence. It also offers practical insights on how citizens and NGOs can bring about real change.
Monitoring the implementation of the Convention
In order to assess and improve the implementation of the Convention by the States, two distinct bodies are interacting ; the Group of Experts on Action against Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (GREVIO) and the Committee of the Parties, which is composed of representatives of the Parties to the Istanbul Convention.
NGOs can turn to the GREVIO to address their reports, observations and alerts about serious, expanded or recurrent acts of violence, which should be covered by the Convention.
The four Pillars
Treatment programs for perpetrators;
Involving media and private sector in eradicating gender stereotypes;
Teaching material for education programs
Emergency restraining orders for perpetrators;
Easy accessible and adequately distributed shelters and crisis centres;
24/7 telephone helplines
Clear definition and criminalisation of all forms of Violence against women;
Elimination of “honour” as a form of justification
Joint action by different actors: NGOs, Parliaments,local authorities, police, etc.;
Appropriate financial and human resources for implementation
What is going to change ?
Step up awareness-raising and improve skills of professionals working in the field
Easy accessible and adequately distributed shelters and crisis centres
Member States are obliged to ensure state-wide 24/7 telephone helplines available free of charge
Greater political and financial support for their work. Key role in monitoring the implementation of the Convention by the States
Extend the measures of the Convention to children, who can be severely affected, both as direct victims or as witnesses
Victims of violence will be entitled of international protection: obligation to recognise gender-based violence against women as a form of persecution
Video: “Violence is not fate, it is made”
The Istanbul Convention by Country
The Istanbul Convention was open to signature on 11 May 2011. As of October 2016, it has been signed by 42 countries and ratified by 22; it is open for ratification also from non-members states of the Council of Europe (such as Tunisia, Morocco etc.).
Map of signatures and ratifications
Our focus countries
There is currently no help structure for rape victimsRead more +
1 woman every 3 days and 1 child every 10 days dies at the hand of a close relativeRead more +
Between 2004 & 2013, the number of married underaged girls has gone from 18.341 to 35.152Read more +
95% of women victim of violence never file a complaintRead more +
In the past 10 years the number of gender-related homicides has tripledRead more +
Cyprus has known many positive developments regarding increasing awareness and commitment towards preventing and combating violence against women – particularly domestic violence – in recent years, such as the adoption of a National Action Plan for the Prevention and Combating of Violence in the Family (2010-2013). But the lack of systematic data collection and analysis impedes a true understanding of the extent of these crimes in Cyprus.
One of the biggest challenges in combating violence against women in Cyprus is that the current legislative framework and policies are designed to combat ‘family violence’ only. This has been detrimental because the definition of violence in the family is gender-neutral and does not recognize that women are the primary victims of such violence. [MIGS paper, 2016]
Another major challenge is the absence of a comprehensive support and treatment system for victims of all forms of violence against women and girls. For example, there are currently no specialised services for victims of rape and sexual assault.
According to available data, cases of domestic violence don’t develop into criminal investigations, while at the same time, the penalties imposed on the perpetrators of violence against women are inadequate for both domestic violence and rape. This ‘justice gap’ is directly related to a lack of awareness and understanding of violence against women among services providers and the judiciary, as well as to the lack of a comprehensive victim support system.
Cyprus has signed, but not ratified, the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence.
STATS According to the first national survey on the prevalence of domestic violence against women in Cyprus in 2012, 28% of the women have experienced some kind of violence during their life, including economic violence (19.4%), psychological violence (19.3%), sexual violence (15.5%), social violence (14.8%), and physical violence (13.4%). 57% of those who reported having been victims of violence did not tell anybody, and only 30% asked for help and 9% received medical care. [MIGS paper, 2016]
According to the European-wide survey on violence against women carried out by the Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) in 2014, 1 out of 5 women in Cyprus have experienced physical and/or sexual violence since the age of 15. More specifically, in relation to intimate partner violence, 14% of women have experienced physical violence by a partner. According to police data, there were 57 cases of reported rape between 2012-2014 and thirty women were killed as a result of intimate partner violence between 2003-2013.
In 2015 alone, 115 women were killed by their spouse or former spouse. 7 women were killed by their unofficial partner (lovers, boyfriends, episodic relationships etc.).
On average, each year, approximately 223,000 women aged 18 to 75 are victim of the most severe forms of domestic violence (physical and/or sexual abuse by their partner or ex-spouse). Of these, only 14% have filed complaints. According to the victims’ estimates, 68% of them reported that the violence has had serious repercussions on their psychological health and 54% that the violence led to disruptions in their daily lives.
143,000 children live in a home where a woman reported being victim of physical and/or sexual abuse from a spouse or former spouse. In 2015, 36 minors were killed in the context of domestic violence or following the homicide of one of the partners: 96 minor children became orphan.
On average, each year, around 84,000 women aged 18 to 75 are victims of rape or attempted rape. In 90% of the cases, the victim knows her attacker. 10% of victims have reportedly filed a complaint.
The number “3919” is the national hotline number to provide information and support to women victim of all forms of violence. In 2014, the call center processed 50,780 calls. Among them, 38,972 were related to violence against women.
Morocco does not provide full protection to women against the various types of violence of which they can be victims. Although the Constitution prohibits discrimination and «treatment which is cruel, inhumane, degrading, or undermines their dignity», the penal code, whose reform is underway, does not guarantee the effective protection of women against violence and discrimination.
Rape is considered a crime against morality and not against the person. Marital rape, sexual harassment in public places, and psychological violence are not yet offences under the penal code.
Although Morocco is signatory to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), the country only recognises its obligation to eliminate discrimination against women as long as this does not contradict Sharia Law.
Counselling services and shelters for women and girls victim of violence are generally set up by civil society organisations but they lack resources, and as a result, they are not numerous. This situation is even worse in rural areas. [Factsheet]
STATS: In 2009, a national survey on the prevalence of violence against women was carried out by the High Commissioner to the Plan. This survey revealed that in a population of 9.5 million of women aged between 18 and 64, nearly 6 million (i.e. 63%) had been subjected to an act of violence during the twelve months preceding the survey, and out of these, 3.7 million (55%) had suffered domestic violence.
- Sexual: 23% of women (2.1 million) have suffered an act of sexual violence at one point in their lives. These victims are three times higher in urban areas (2.2 million) than in rural areas (712,000).
- Psychologic: this form of violence is the most widespread: with a prevalence rate of 48.4%, 4.6 million women are victims of it (3 million urban and 1.6 million in rural areas).
- Economic violence, for instance denying a woman the right to access resources, affects more than 181,000 women (a ratio of 8.2%) and is more widespread in rural areas.
Violence that occurred in public places is reported to a competent authority in just 17.4% of cases, while domestic violence is only reported 3% of the time.
Tunisia was always presented as a forerunner when it comes to protection and respect of women’s rights in the Arab world. The Civil Code, established in 1956, establishes gender equality and emancipates Tunisian women. The 2014 Constitution also dictates equality between all citizens and forces the State to fight against violence against women. But in 2010, a national survey by the government revealed alarming violence rates in the country.
Published in 2011, this survey unveiled that nearly 50% of women aged 18 to 64 were victim of some form of violence in their lifetime. Physical violence prevailed (31.7%), followed by psychological violence (28.9%), sexual violence (15%) and economic violence (7.1%). Yet too many women victim of violence remain silent: only 5% of them press charges.
In 2016, another survey underlined that 53% of women have already been a victim of some sort of violence in a public space between 2011 and 2015 alone.
Given the current situation, the adoption of a specific law to fight violence against women therefore appears essential. In March 2014, the Ministry for women and family affairs called for a new law specifically targeting women’s rights and gender equality.
Until the late 1990s, the legislation that criminalised violence against women was highly insufficient and ineffective. But in 2012, the Law on the Protection of the Family and the Prevention of Violence against Women (6284) marked an important step forward. However, its enforcement is still very unequal.
The new Combating Violence against Women National Action Plan (2016-2019), which was prepared with limited NGO participation, has not yet been issued and the reports regarding the outcomes and efficiency of the previous plan has not been shared.
Although Turkey was the first country to ratify the Istanbul Convention, required legislation amendments have not been enforced as of yet, more than 2 years after it came into force.
Following the adoption of the Law on the Protection of the Family and the Prevention of Violence against Women (N.6248), the government established several Violence Prevention and Observing Centers (ŞÖNİM) in charge of monitoring and supporting the implementation of the Law. Yet, as reported by many NGOs, these centers are still too few, difficult to access, and therefore inefficient.
Turkey stated that a total of 137 shelters with a total capacity of 3,442 operate in Turkey. The capacity seems extremely low in comparison with the overall population of women which is approximately 39 million. [Shadow NGOs report CEDAW, 2016]
In the past 10 years the number of gender-related homicides has tripled. Between 2003 and 2013 domestic violence has increased more than 1,400%. In the first 8 months of 2016 alone, 175 women were killed.
For the first time, a comprehensive “Research on Domestic Violence against Woman in Turkey” was conducted in 2008 and updated in 2014. According to 2014 Research on Domestic Violence against Women, 38% of women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence and 89% of them have not applied to any institutions/organizations.
In the Global Gender Gap report, Turkey ranks 125th among 142 countries, the lowest position among any OECD country. Only 24% of women are employed; most women working outside the house have low-paying jobs, and only 12% of Turkish CEOs are women.
Regarding abortion, in February 2013 a new bill was drafted that allows healthcare providers to refuse performing abortions and provided for a mandatory “consideration time” for women.
Lastly, Turkey is plagued with startling rates of child brides. It is estimated that 14% of girls are married before the age of 18 [IHD-FIDH submission CEDAW, 2016]
The state report from Turkey was received by GREVIO on 3 July 2017. The Group will consider it together with Turkish representatives at its 12th meeting scheduled to take place from 9 – 13 October 2017 in Strasbourg. GREVIO plans to carry out an evaluation visit to Turkey in November 2017 in order to assess the situation on the ground. The Group will then draw up and adopt its evaluation report in the course of 2018. Read the full report here.
What you can do on the ground
The 3919 is since 1 January 2014 the reference national phone number destined to women victims of all forms of violence (domestic, sexual, work-related, FGM, forced marriage, etc.). This free phone number was first installed by the French organisation FNSF (Fédération Nationale Solidarité Femmes) in 1992.
Links & Resources
- CYPRUS: REPORT ON VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN, June 2018
- TUNISIA: REPORT ON VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN, March 2018
- MOROCCO: REPORT ON VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN, March 2018
- JORDAN: REPORT ON VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN, March 2018
- SYRIA: REPORT ON VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN, November 2017
- FRANCE: REPORT ON VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN, February 2017
- TURKEY: REPORT ON VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN, February 2017
- COMPARATIVE TABLE ON VAW (IN EUROPE, NORTH AFRICA AND MIDDLE EAST), February 2017
- EGYPT: REPORT ON VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN, December 2016
- TUNISIA :WHICH CHALLENGES TO DEFEAT VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN? June 2016
- PALESTINE: REPORT ON VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN, December 2015
- DETENTION OF WOMEN IN SYRIA: A WEAPON OF WAR AND TERROR, May 2015