[Brussels, 6 June 2014] Yesterday, the Council of the European Union Justice and Home Affairs issued conclusions on Preventing and combating all forms of violence against women and girls, including female genital mutilation. The European Women’s Lobby (EWL) strongly welcomes this political statement, which reiterates the recognition of violence against women as a priority issue to address in Europe today.
The Conclusions state that violence against women and other forms of gender-based violence constitute "a breach of the fundamental right to life, liberty, security, dignity, equality between women and men, non-discrimination and physical and mental integrity1 and refrains women and girls from their full enjoyment of human rights, and in this context sexual and reproductive health and rights, in accordance with the Beijing Platform for Action and the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development".
The Council makes recommendations to the Member States and the European Commission, on all aspect of a comprehensive policy to end violence against women, that is on prevention, prosecution, protection of women, and service provision. It also calls on all EU Member States to sign and ratify the Istanbul Convention (Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence). The Conclusions want to create consistence by calling on EU agencies as well as EU external policies to tackle violence against women as a priority.
The EWL welcomes these conclusions ans hope that they will constitute guidelines for the new European Parliament and Commission, in their work over the next term. More particularly, the EWL wants to see 2016 established as EU year to End violence against women, and a strong legally-binding instrument to protect all women from all forms of violence against women, as a follow-up of the resolution adopted last February by the European Parliament.