[Brussels, 21 April 2016] Bulgaria became the 26th EU Member State that have signed the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, the Istanbul Convention. We congratulate our members, the Bulgarian Coordination to the EWL, and the women’s rights movement for this efforts towards this achievement and we wish that the ratification process goes timely to ensure a good implementation of the convention and adequate protection of women victims of violence.
There are only two EU Member States that have still not deposited their signature to the Convention: Czech Republic and Latvia.
The Czech Government announced in February this year the intention to sign the Istanbul Convention in June 2016, being the ratification scheduled for mid-2018. This announcement has been welcomed and is being monitored by the women’s rights organisations that have made huge efforts to make the case on the crucial importance to sign and ratify this comprehensive human rights treaty on combating violence against women. See for example the press conference and round table organised by proFrem o.p.s in the framework of the EWL-COE joint project "Act against rape! Use the Istanbul Convention!" in 2013.
In Latvia, despite the announcement of the intention to sign the Istanbul Convention that was made by the Minister of Foreign affairs early last year, the process is stagnated in the Ministry of Justice. Edite Kalnina, EWL Board member representative of the Women’s NGO Cooperation Network of Latvia, informs that Latvian women’s rights organisations are investing a lot of efforts to explain the benefits of the signature and ratification of the Istanbul Convention as a key step forward to put an end to violence against women (See for example the event organised in the framework of the "Act against rape! Use the Istanbul Convention" project). Women right’s organisations, gender equality researchers and lawyers have joined forces as well to explain how the provisions of the Istanbul Convention are already in line with the Latvian legal framework and national and European jurisprudence. At this stage,one of the key demands of the women’s rights organisations is that lawyers with gender equality expertise are involved in the assessment of the Istanbul convention that the Ministry of Justice have just commissioned.
We count on the Latvia and Czech Republic’s authorities to listen to the demands of the women’s organisations and soon become a party to this important treaty. The implementation of the Istanbul Convention will consolidate the efforts of both countries in the fight against violence against women.
- 26 EU MS have signed the Istanbul Convention.
- 13 EU Member states have already ratified the Istanbul Convention (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden).
- 13 EU MS have not ratified it yet (Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Estonia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and UK).
The European Commission has launched a proposalfor the European Union to sign and ratify the Council of Europe’s Istanbul Convention, which counts with the European Women’s Lobby supports.