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First anniversary of the EU’s signature of the Istanbul Convention: Member states must ratify it without further delay


Justice & Home Affairs
On the first anniversary of the accession of the EU to the Istanbul Convention, the S&Ds are calling on member states to ratify it as soon as possible and to speed up the negotiations to allow the EU to ratify it as well. The Istanbul Convention is the most comprehensive international treaty and the first legally binding instrument on preventing and combating violence against women, including physical, psychological, and domestic violence.
The European Parliament’s co-rapporteur on the Istanbul Convention, S&D MEP Christine Revault d’Allonnes-Bonnefoy, said:
“The 13th of June marks one year from the signing of the Istanbul Convention by the EU, a historic moment for all women across the Union. Women who have fallen victims of gender-based crime and domestic violence can finally see their rights being protected.
“Yet, the progress being made so far is utterly disappointing and disheartening. While the European Parliament has warmly welcomed the EU’s accession to the Convention and, with a broad majority, adopted a report in September 2017 calling for ratification, the Council is still dragging its feet and even actively blocking it citing legal reasons. We reject these arguments as they have no legal ground.
“In the meantime, the levels of violence against women across the EU remain alarming. It is shameful that 10 member states have not ratified the Convention. We Socialists and Democrats are calling on member states to deliver on the commitments undertaken and ratify, without delay, the Istanbul Convention. We owe that to European women and girls.
S&D Group spokeswoman for women’s rights and gender equality, MEP Iratxe García Pérez, added:
“Millions of women and girls in the EU are suffering every day from persistent gender discrimination and gender-based violence, as evidence collected by the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights shows. They are harassed, beaten, raped and even killed for being women. We cannot tolerate this anymore.
“The recent backlash on women’s rights and fierce opposition to the ratification we are currently observing is unacceptable. We call on member states to stand firm in their commitment to safeguard the dignity of all women and girls in the EU and ratify the Istanbul Convention as soon as possible.
“For us Socialists and Democrats, the fight to end violence against women is a priority. We will continue to fight to protect them from all forms of violence and discrimination.”
Note to editors:
On 13 June 2017 the EU signed the Istanbul Convention. The Convention commits parties to implement measures to protect victims, persecute perpetrators and prevent gender-based crimes. The Council of Europe adopted the Convention in 2011, whereas it entered into force in 2014.
Thus far, all EU countries have signed the Istanbul Convention, but 10 member states have yet to ratify it, namely: Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Slovakia and the United Kingdom.
The Istanbul Convention constitutes the most far-reaching international treaty to address violence against women. In addition to domestic violence, it provides for physical and psychological violence such as rape, female genital mutilation, forced marriage, forced abortion and sterilisation, sexual harassment and stalking.