[Brussels, 10 December 2019] European Women’s Lobby members across Europe have raised their voice LOUD and UNITED during the 16 days of activism campaign to end violence against women and girls from 25 of November, International Day for the Elimination of Violence until the 10 December 2019, International day for Human Rights. Over this period, EWL member organisations have been calling for the ratification of the Istanbul Convention (including at EU level) and/or its adequate implementation in the majority of EU countries that have already ratified it.
Furthermore, over the 16 days of activism, EWL members have been calling for further EU action to ensure that all women and girls can live a life free from all forms of violence against women.
European Wide Members of European Women’s Lobby
European Disability Forum (EDF)
On 25 of November, the European Disability Forum issued a statement highlighting “5 reasons to ratify the Istanbul Convention”. The statement calls on the European Union (EU) and its countries to protect all women and girls with disabilities from violence and abuse, including forced sterilisation by ratifying the Istanbul Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence.
On 4 December, Ana Pelaez, Vice-President of the European Disability Forum andmember of CEDAW committee, was panelist at the FEMM Committee Hearing on the future EU strategy on equality between women and men, where she reiterated the need to explicitly address the problems that affect the most vulnerable women and girls, including those with disabilities. Forced sterilisation, forced abortion, and forced institutionalisation are some of the many violations they face, and one of the reasons why the EU needs to accede the Istanbul Convention. Find more about it here.
European Trade Unions Confedereation (ETUC):
On 25 November, ETUC have addressed Letter to the President of the European Commission, Ursula Von der Leyen, and Commissioner for Equality, Helena Dalli, calling for concrete actions to stop all forms of violence against women, including the violence women workers face at the workplace.
In their letter they call for:
• EU accession to the Istanbul Convention against violence against women;
• Stronger support, protection and rights for victims of violence against women if the Convention remains blocked in the European Council;
• Violence against women to be added to the list of EU crimes
They also urge the European Commission to take urgent steps to encourage:
• The ratification of the Istanbul Convention by those seven EU member states who have not done so (Bulgaria, Czechia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia and UK);
• The ratification by all EU Member States of the ILO Convention 190 on violence and harassment at work.
You can read the letter here.
European Network of Migrant Women (ENoMW)
Radical girlsss, the Young Women Group of the European Network of Migrant Women have issued an statement denouncing the patriarchal violence to which we are subjected every day in its many manifestations. https://www.migrantwomennetwork.org/2019/11/26/radical-girlsss-statement-end-global-male-violence-against-women/
In the frames of 16 Days of Activism to End Male Violence against Women, ENoMW and Radical girlsss organised a Public Webinar on Women’s access to justice and reparations that took place on Sunday 15 December, addressing the topics of access to Justice as a multidimensional concept; reparations from a transformative approach and case law.
Find out more here: #RadicalGirlsss [Facebook page/event https://www.facebook.com/RadicalGirlsss/].
Ana Zobnina, Strategy and Policy Coordinator of the European Network of Migrant Women, was interviewed in France 24, where she highlighted the importance of advocating for the correct implementation of the Council of Europe convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, the Istanbul Convention, as the most comprehensive legal instruments to combat prevent male violence against women and to protect all women’s independently of the legal/residence status. See video here.
EWL National coordinations
EWL member organsiations in Belgium, Conseil des femmes francophones de Belgique and Vrouenraad where part of the Mirabal Platform who organised a demostration in Brussels with more than 10.000 participants (more than double than the previous year). The Mirabal Platform calls on a concrete strategy and resources to implement the Istanbul Convention. Read morehere.
EWL staff members took part in the demonstration in Brussels to demand concrete action at national and European Level to end violence against women, including the Eu accession to the Istanbul Convention.
In partnership with UN Women, EWL and its member organsiations in Belgium, Vrouenraad and Conseil des femmes francophones de Belgique took part at a high level event “Orange the world: stand against rape”, in the Brussels City Townhall. After the event, participants marched towards the Manneken-Pis who was dressed in the “Orange the World” with a costume specially realised by Belgian fashion designer Gioia Seghers for the occasion. After short statements in front of Manneken-Pis by Dagmar-Schumacher, Director of Brussels-office UN Women; Magda de Meyer, President of Vrouenraad; Sylvie Lausberg, President of CFFB; and Joanna Maycock, EWL Secretary General, the ceremony was closed with minute of noise for all survivors of gender-based violence and all those who have not survived.
Find more information and like this facebook page, run in partnership by UN Women, Vrouenraad, Conseil des femmes francohpnes and the EWL: https://www.facebook.com/OrangeTheWorldGenerationEquality/
This year, the Gender Alternatives Foundation, member of Bulgarian Platform of the EWL, has launched a series of initiatives in connection with the 16 Days Against Women Violence campaign. Firstly on November 25, 2019, Gender Alternatives Foundation held a press conference to re-introduce journalists to the content and meaning of these 16 days against violence. They also presented a specific case - a story that was developed by lawyer Milena Kadienva and lawyer Janet Borisova at the CEDAW Committee. The case has caught the attention of the public and has been covered by a number of media outlets.
As part of the campaign, together with their partners from Zonta Club, they also held an interactive workshop at one of the biggest schools in Plovdiv. The lecture was attended by more than 80 children. The aim was to raise awareness among students on topics related to violence and bullying among children, adolescents and young people. The session covered different forms of violence (mental, physical, economic), its prevention and consequences, and the ways in which getting support to address the aggression inside and outside the school, providing concrete information about the institutions and competent authorities that can provide support in such a situation.
Finally, the Gender Alternatives Foundation also organised and took part in key meetings with representatives of the courts, prosecutors, police, state authorities and other institutions, as part of their 2020 campaign calling for the setting up of a new crisis center dedicated to address different forms of gender based violence.
The French Coordination to the European Women’s Lobby, CLEF, launched a press release in solidarity with the grassroots organisations fighting all forms of violence against women (sexual, sexist, intimate partner violence). While CLEF welcomed the concrete measures proposed by the Government after the conclusion of the Grenelle des Viollences, CLEF calls the Government to allocate adequate resources to put an end to violence against women and implement the new measures adequately.
Read the press release here (in French).
The French Coordination to the European Women’s Lobby, CLEF, has also launched a social media campaign to disseminate at the Brussels Call campaign “Together for a Europe free from Prostitution”. Find more about it in their Twitter and Facebook profile.
Czech Women’s Lobby organised a successful Conference “Together against violence against women” that attended 120 people, mainly social services providers. The Czech Women’s lobby also cooperated with Swedish Embassy in Prague. Czech Women’s Lobby joined the UN Women “Orange the World” Campaign and Petrin tower in Prague was lit in orange on 25 November. See more here.
On 26 December, the Greek Coordination organised a Seminar in Athens on violence against women and women trafficking, in partnership with organised the Pantion University with the participation of the Academic society, members of the Parliament, the Greek political parties and the civil society representatives.
Furthermore, the Greek Coordination represented by Mika Ioannidou, participated in an event before the Greek Parliament on 3 December, where she shared the proposals for the implementation of the Istanbul Convention. She also highlighted the urgent need to change the old law of the Greek Penal Code to ensure that all forms of violence against women are penalised including, prostitution, sexual exploitation and pimping of adult women.
The 16 Days of Activism against Violence against Women is happening in Hungary again. The Hungarian Women’s Lobby held a series of events that started on 23rd November with a remembrance event and demonstration in Budapest. The main press coverage was in Merce.hu here.
This year, the focus of the Hungarian Women’s Lobby campaign was focused on women and children’s rights, and how they are violated not only be the abusive partner but also by state actors.
At the opening event, two women survivors told their stories as well as two of our colleagues. More information here.
The 16 days were closed by a Hungarian/English language conference “Safety and protection in the family and in society –25 years for acting together against violence against women and children” organised by NANE Women’s Rights Association and PATENT Association (People Opposing
Patriarchy). The Conference took place on 9 of December 16, 2019. More information here.
On Friday 6 December, the Irish Observatory on Violence Against Women marked this year’s 16 Days of activism by holding a Seminar ’Creating a safer Ireland for Women’ which focused on two of the four pillars of the Istanbul Convention – Protections and Prevention.
The Irish Observatory on Violence Against Women, an independent network of 18 grassroots and national organisations, invited with Garda Commissioner Drew Harris as a keynote speaker. The event focused on the prevention of, and protection from, intimate partner violence (IPV), recognising that a failure to protect may result in severe harm to women and, at its most extreme, intimate partner homicide.
Ellen O’Malley Dunlop, chair person of the national Women’s Council of Ireland and EWL board member, introduced the seminar focusing on the need to properly implement the Istanbul Convention. Now that Ireland has now successfully ratified the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combatting Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (the Istanbul Convention), attention must now turn to implementing the Convention ensuring that Ireland meets its convention obligations. The Observatory calls for Domestic Homicide Reviews to be put on a legislative basis.
The event explored the law reforms that have arisen from the ratification process of the Istanbul Convention and Criminal Justice (Victims of Crime) Act 2017 and will examine how the State, An Garda Síochána and civil society can prevent and protect people experiencing intimate partner violence.
The event was organised in conjunction with the European Parliament Liaison office in Ireland and MEP Frances Fitzgerald (EPP, Ireland) brought up the need to act to end violence against women also from a European perspective.
Read the Calls from the Irish Observatory here.
From 12-14 November 2019, National Association of Women Rights together with the Women’s Issues Information Center and the Klaipeda Social and Psychological Services Center organised an International Conference “We Are Safe in Our City”. The Conference was dedicated to discussing the manifestations of violence, its consequences, legal effects and liability, with a particular focus on sexual violence, sharing the best practices on prevention of violence, assistance to the victims of violence and inter-institutional cooperation. The Conference brought together more than 130 participants from various governmental and non-governmental organizations; international experts and professionals working in the field. Ana Zobina represented the European Women’s lobby as EWL Executive Committee Member.
Find here the resolution adopted by the participants at the Conference (in English), calling the Lithuanian Governement to urgently ratify and implement the Istanbul Convention.
On Thursday 5 December 2019, the National Council of Women in Luxemborug ( Conseil National des Femmes du Luxembourg), in partnership with the Mayor and members of the City Hall of Ville d’Esch-sur-Alzette and le Foyer Sud « Fraen an Nout », organised an exhibition " Chère violence, je te quitte, …" in the townhall of Ville d’Esch-sur-Alzette.
The exhibition " Chère violence, je te quitte…" allows the general public to immerse themselves in the world of the women in the shelter of Foyer Sud "Fraen an Nout", and understand their vital journey and their attempt to finally leave the violence. With this exhibition, these women survivors and their children want to encourage other victims to say "Stop" to violence.
This year, to mark the 16 days of activism to end violence against women, The Portuguese Platform for Women’s Rights (PpDM) released a statement calling for the recognition of the crucial role of feminist women organisations in the fight to end violence against women and support its victims and the need to adequately resource these organisations.
The Portuguese Platform for Women’s Rights took part in the demonstration that took place in Lisbon on 25 of November; and in key conferences in Lisbon, Coimbra and Seville.
Read the statement here.