European Interest

Istanbul Convention: All member states must ratify it without delay, say MEPs

Flickr/European Parliament/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

To end violence against women, MEPs call on the EU to accede to and all member states to ratify the Istanbul Convention.

The non-legislative resolution, adopted by 500 votes in favour, 91 against and 50 abstentions on Thursday, calls on the Council to urgently conclude the EU ratification of the Convention on preventing and combating violence against women, also known as the Istanbul Convention. It urges the seven member states that have signed but not yet ratified it – Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia and the UK – to do so without delay.

MEPs condemn the attacks and campaigns against the Convention in some countries, which are based on deliberately misinterpreting and falsely presenting its contents to the public, they say.

MEPs request that the Commission adds combating gender-based violence as a priority in the next European Gender Strategy. They also ask the Commission to submit a legal act tackling all forms of gender-based violence – including online harassment and cyber violence – and plead for violence against women to be included in the catalogue of EU-recognised crimes.

All member states should ensure that the Convention is properly implemented and enforced by allocating adequate funding and human resources to the right services. Providing appropriate training for all professionals dealing with victims (magistrates, doctors, police officers…) is particularly essential.

The EP also reiterates its position in favour of specifically earmarking 193.6 million euros for actions preventing and combating gender-based violence in the Rights and Values programme.

The Istanbul Convention, adopted by the Council of Europe in 2011, entered into force in 2014 and was signed by the EU in June 2017. It is the first international instrument of its kind – states that ratify it must follow comprehensive, legally binding standards to prevent gender-based violence, protect victims and punish perpetrators.

According to a 2014 Fundamental Rights Agency survey, one in three women in the EU has experienced physical and/or sexual violence since the age of 15. 55% of women have been confronted with one or more forms of sexual harassment (11% have been subjected to cyber harassment). One in twenty have been raped.

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