[Brussels, 10 December 2014] The EWL Observatory on violence against women met in Brussels from 7 to 9 December during 3 intensive “Days on Action to end violence against women”.
The experts coming from around 30 countries were working together, sharing experiences and knowledge, discussing strategies and defining priorities. Although the situation across Europe presents many differences in terms of legislation, service provision, protection of women, the experts identified common challenges, threats and consideration for hope.
They all stressed the difficulties they are confronted by the consequences of austerity measures, touching women and services, endangering the NGO’s work; they pointed the rise of extreme rights and religious fundamentalisms, undermining or denying women’s rights; they discussed the lack of/backlash/opposition to gender perspective with negative consequences of understanding the structural nature of male violence against women. Conflicts in the neighbor countries, with many women refugees suffering violence in some EU countries and new forms of violence emerging, such as violence using the social media and internet.
But on the positive note, they reaffirm their commitment to make the Istanbul Convention ratified and implemented in all countries and the momentum created by some major steps such as the FRA Survey on VAW and the EP reports adopted on recently (the report on violence against women “A. Parvanova Report” and on prostitution “Honeyball Report). Those have contributed to a greater awareness that violence against women is a violation of human rights and a real issue for society, not a marginal or women’s issue.
The EWL observatory had also a discussion on the future strategy of the EWL for a feminist Europe and how their experience can be integrated in the future plan 2016-2020. In a more near future, the observatory identified the need to continue its active work on the ratification, implementation and monitoring the Istanbul Convention. More great campaign to come!
On the 9th December, the Observatory met with Members of the European Parliament for a breakfast meeting, hosted by Ms Beatriz Becerra to discuss and connect the work at grassroots and national level and the European Parliament action. Ms Becerra confirmed her commitment to ensure more action to eliminate violence against women, including the ratification of the Istanbul Convention by the EU.
The Observatory experts also thanked Director Colette De Troy for her fantastic leadership & support throughout the years.