Istanbul Convention: 3 years but still a long way to go
On the 3rd anniversary of the entry into force of the Istanbul Convention, EuroMed Rights calls on governments on both sides of the Mediterranean to urgently ratify and implement this international tool to prevent and combat violence against women. #STOPViolenceAgainstWomen, let’s achieve gender equality!
The ‘Istanbul Convention’ is the first and most comprehensive legally binding Council of Europe (CoE) treaty specifically dealing with violence against women, designating it as a human right violation and a form of discrimination. It sets out minimum standards on protection of women from violence as well as prevention and prosecution of perpetrators of violence against women. To date, 24 members of the CoE have ratified the Convention, while an additional 20 has signed it.
Violence against women being prevalent on both sides of the Mediterranean, EuroMed Rights welcomed the decision of the EU to dedicate 2017 to ending violence against women, especially as the Council of the European Union recently approved in May the signature of the Istanbul Convention. By deciding to join the Convention, the EU confirms its commitment to combatting violence against women both within its territory as well as globally, and strengthens its capacity to act. However, it is important that the EU also continues to push and support its members’ states to ratify and implement the Convention. It should also be encouraged to push for the accession to the Convention of third states within its’ eastern and southern neighborhood, in the framework of the European Neighborhood Policy.
By ratifying the treaty, states undertake to guarantee gender equality in their legislation as well as to criminalise all forms of violence against women including female genital mutilation, forced marriage, stalking, forced abortion and forced sterilisation. Ratifying countries are also required to protect and support victims of gender-based violence by implementing comprehensive and coordinated policies involving government agencies, NGOs as well as national, regional and local authorities.
Violence against women remains one of the most prevalent human rights violations of our times. Ratifying the Istanbul Convention can change attitudes and introduce tangible improvements in the lives of millions of women and girls in our societies. Let’s keep united and let’s use the Istanbul Convention!
Our focus countries
EuroMed Rights welcomed on 26 July the adoption by the Tunisian Assembly of the people’s representatives of the comprehensive law on fighting violence against women. Following many years of efforts, its adoption, which includes the main recommendations by civil society, is a milestone for women’s rights in Tunisia and the implementation of the principles defended by the new Constitution.
However, we want to draw attention to Cyprus and Turkey, 2 countries where much work on fighting VaW is still needed.
As part of the #STOPViolenceAgainstWomen campaign, EuroMed Rights provided a range of women’s rights organisations (notably from Turkey, Cyprus and France) with a training on the provisions of the Istanbul Convention, including how to contribute to the GREVIO reporting, in April 2017.
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