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S&Ds urge Council to ratify Istanbul Convention as soon as possible


14 Feb 2023


Global Europe

Six years after the EU signed the Istanbul Convention on eradicating violence against women, the socialists and democrats are urging EU governments to press ahead with ratifying it in the Council as soon as possible.

As part of a monitoring process of the EU’s accession to the Istanbul Convention, MEPs have produced an interim report calling for the Council to overcome the conservative minority opposition in its ranks and also urging the remaining six EU countries, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Latvia, Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia, to ratify the convention nationally. The report will be debated on Tuesday afternoon and voted on Wednesday at noon.

In light of recent backlashes against gender equality by conservative governments like in Poland, the report also calls on national authorities to tackle disinformation and to raise awareness about the Convention and its benefits for society as a whole.

Łukasz Kohut, S&D rapporteur on the EU accession to the Istanbul Convention for the civil liberties committee, said:

“Women’s rights should not be a subject of political debate or disagreement. One in three women in the EU, around 62 million women, have experienced physical or sexual violence and more than half of women in the EU have experienced sexual harassment at least once in their lives. Six years ago, the EU signed the Istanbul Convention that aims to prevent violence, protect victims, and prosecute perpetrators. Our report is a strong signal supporting the Swedish Presidency’s efforts for the EU to accede to the Istanbul Convention. The reality that violence is happening in many homes must change soon!”

Pina Picierno, S&D shadow rapporteur for the women’s rights and gender equality committee, said:

“137 women are killed by their partner or a family member every day. One in three women worldwide have experienced physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetime. Violence against women is a global phenomenon that Europe needs to lead the way in ending once and for all. The EU ratifying the Istanbul Convention on combatting violence against women as soon as possible would demonstrate a clear stance against gender-based violence in the EU. This is not the end of the road though. We are committed to doing more to protect women by ensuring gender based violence is a crime that is recognised in all EU countries so that anyone abusing on the basis of gender faces full justice. We are currently working on new EU laws that protect and support victims and that can help stop gender-based crime happening in the first place.”

Note to editors

The Istanbul Convention is a treaty of the Council of Europe that helps create a legal framework level across Europe to protect women against violence, and prevent, prosecute and eliminate violence against women and domestic violence. The Convention recognises violence against women as a human rights violation.

21 EU member states ratified the Istanbul Convention. Bulgaria, Lithuania, Latvia, Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia still have not done so.

The EU signed the Convention in June 2017. The EU Court of Justice issued an Opinion on 6 October 2021, following up on Parliament’s request, stated that the Council could proceed with ratifying the Istanbul Convention by the European Union.


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