European & International News

10 ratifications reached: the Istanbul Convention will entry into force this summer!

[Brussels, 23 April 2014] Andorra became the 10th member state to ratify triggering the entry into force of the Istanbul Convention on 1 August 2014. In total three countries have recently ratified the Istanbul Convention on violence against women: Spain (on the 10/04/2014) and Andorra (on the 22/04/2014) and Denmark (on the 23/04/2014).

This ratification marks is a huge step towards the end of violence against women and the promotion and protection of women’s human rights in Europe. Read here the Press Release of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe.

Eleven countries in total have ratified the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, the Istanbul Convention, until now: Andorra, Albania, Austria, Denmark, Bosnia i Herzegovina, Italy, Montenegro, Portugal, Serbia, Spain and Turkey. Other countries, as France, Germany, Malta, etc., are working towards the ratification.

The Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) has recently published the results of the first European wide survey on violence against women which shows the wide and extremely high prevalence of violence against women: one in three women has experienced physical and/or sexual violence since the age of 15; one in five women has experienced stalking; every second woman has been confronted with one or more forms of sexual harassment. Violence against women is far to high everywhere in Europe: urgent change is needed.

The adequate implementation of the Istanbul Convention will make a enormous difference in the eradication of violence against women as it sets standards for practical measures to address different forms of violence against women from its roots, recognising that “violence against women is one of the crucial social mechanisms by which women are forced into a subordinate position compared to men” (Preamble). The Convention requires states parties to put in place comprehensive and coordinated policies in order to prevent violence, protect its victims, prosecute the perpetrators, and to develop adequate systems for data collection. Countries ratifying must establish services such as specialist support services, including for victims of sexual violence, shelters, telephone helplines, support services, counselling, legal aid, etc.

The European Women’s Lobby (EWL) and the EWL Observatory on violence against women encourage all the European states that have not done it yet, to sign, ratify and implement the Istanbul Convention in a timely manner. Furthermore, the EWL is calling the European Union to launch the procedure to ratify the Convention, as proposed by the European Parliament in its Resolution on combating violence against women.

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