Council of Europe and Amnesty International release guide against female genital mutilation[25/11/2014] Amnesty International and the Council of Europe have released a guide to put female genital mutilation (FGM) on the political agenda – and to promote the Council of Europe’s Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (Istanbul Convention).
The guide can help governments understand how to use the Council of Europe’s convention as a tool to end FGM and to help NGOs and civil society give examples of actions to take to fight the practice.
The World Health Organization estimates that between 100-140 million women and girls have been subjected to FGM, with an estimated 3 million at risk each year. FGM is widespread in large parts of Africa, some countries in the Middle East and in some communities in Asia and Latin America. It occurs in Europe among certain communities originating from countries where FGM is prevalent.
Although some European countries have made efforts to legislate against FGM and to provide support to girls and women, attempts are too few and with too little impact, according to the guide.
From criminalising FGM to offering specialist health care and counselling services, as well as legal protection to girls and women at risk of FGM, the Council of Europe’s Istanbul Convention calls on governments to provide a comprehensive national response to FGM, addressing prevention, prosecution, and adequate provision of services.
Because changing attitudes is essential, the guide includes “best practices” such as women who have been affected within their community speaking out against FGM’s negative effects on their health.
The 62-page guide encourages governments to sign and ratify the Council of Europe convention.
Link to the guide: “The Istanbul Convention – A tool to end female genital mutilation”
Turning vision into reality: the Council of Europe Istanbul Convention - response to women victims of violence across the world[24/11/2014] On the International Day on Ending Violence against Women, the Council of Europe remembers the hundreds and thousands of women who suffer unspeakable violence, at the hands of their partners, family, and strangers. We remember the women who live with fear and feel unsafe whether they are inside the walls of their home, in the workplace, at school, in a war zone or just walking in the street. More….
6th meeting of the Gender Equality Commission (GEC)
[20/11/2014] The Gender Equality Commission (GEC) unanimously elected Sergiy Kyslytsya (Ukraine) as its Chair. The GEC also elected Kira Appel (Denmark) as its Vice Chair. The term of office of both appointments is for one year, and may be renewed for another year. Consult the meetings documents and presentations.
Advancing the Gender Equality Agenda - Excellent Co-operation and Synergies between UN Women and the Council of Europe Gender Equality Commission
[18/11/2014] Co-operation on the promotion of the signature and ratification of the Council of Europe Istanbul Convention was the focus of discussions during the meeting of the Chairperson of the Gender Equality Commission and Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, Mr Sergiy Kyslytsya, and UN Executive Director, Ms Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka. The Chairperson of the GEC highlighted the valuable contribution of UN Women to the promotion of the Convention, its entry into force and its establishment as a reference text in the area of combating violence against women and domestic violence. Ongoing work and co-operation on other issues of common interest such as equal access of women to justice, tackling gender stereotypes, women's participation in political and public decision-making and monitoring the implementation of the Istanbul Convention were also discussed. The Chairperson of the GEC and the UN Women Executive Director agreed on the need for continued co-operation based on the added value and the strengths of each organisation to ensure synergies, strengthen impact and avoid duplication.
Council of Europe Gender Mainstreaming with CODEXTER
[17/11/2014] At their 27th plenary meeting on 13-14 November 2014, the Council of Europe Committee of Experts on Terrorism (CODEXTER) examined and took note of the Discussion Paper on Possible Gender-Related Priorities prepared by the Gender Equality Rapporteur, Ms Tanja KIKEREKOVA (“the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”). The CODEXTER endorsed the proposals contained in the aforesaid document, including that the Group of Parties to the Council of Europe Convention on the Prevention of Terrorism could examine the implementation of gender mainstreaming within the Convention, and that CODEXTER could examine the role of women in radicalization, with a view to developing best practices/guidelines on these issues as necessary.
Council of Europe contributes to 12th meeting of the League of Arab States Violence Against Children Committee
[10/11/2014] In the framework of the cooperation activities of the Council of Europe in the Southern Mediterranean, a presentation of the Istanbul and Lanzarote Conventions as well as relevant CoE standards and best practices on child and women protection will be held in Cairo on 12th November 2014 during the 12th meeting of the League of Arab States Violence Against Children Committee.
“Gender Equality and the empowerment of women and girls for sustainable development in the ECE region”
The Council of Europe will participate and contribute to this Regional Review Meeting, which will take stock 20 years after the Beijing Platform for Action. The meeting on 6-7 November 2014 is co-hosted by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and UN Women, in Geneva, Switzerland. For more info about this event see the programme and event website
SAVE THE DATE: International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women
On 25 November UN Women, the World Future Council and the Inter-Parliamentary Union will organise a Panel Discussion on - "Violence again Women: Best Laws and Policies" learning from the winners of the 2014 Future Policy Award - Successful strategies since the adoption of the Beijing Platform for Action, remaining challenges and the way forward. This event will be held from 3pm to 5 pm at the UN Secrtariat Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium. Please click here to RSVP by 10th November 2014.
“Gender Equality in Europe: Unfinished Business?"
The Council of Europe will participate and contribute to the Conference “Gender Equality in Europe: Unfinished Business? Taking stock 20 years after the Beijing Platform for Action” taking place on 23 and 24 October in Rome, Italy. The Conference is organised by the Italian Presidency of the Council of the European Union. For more info about this event see the programme .
The Istanbul Convention wins Vision Award 2014
[15/10/2014] On 14 October, the World Future Council, Inter-Parliamentary Union and UN Women awarded the Istanbul Convention with its newly created Vision Award. Presented as part of the World Future Policy Award 2014, this award honours the ground-breaking nature of the Istanbul Convention and the vision it carries for women in Europe and beyond to lead a life free of violence.This is the second award presented to the Istanbul Convention which demonstrates recognition of the fact that it is currently the most comprehensive international instrument on violence against women. Link to the World Future Policy Award Information brochure on the World Future Policy Award 2014 Acceptance speech by Marja Ruotanen
Collection of papers on the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence
[07/10/2014] The Istanbul Convention is not only a policy framework containing legally binding obligations on its state parties, but it is also source of guidance and inspiration for practitioners in the fields of justice, security, health, or social services, including those from civil society.
The Council of Europe has now launched a collection of papers on the Convention as a specific tool for the implementation of this ground-breaking treaty. Each of the existing and future papers in this collection is designed as an easy to use, ‘how to’ guide each dedicated to one specific article of the Convention. They follow a general structure that comprises a detailed description of the nature of the obligations contained in the respective article, good practice examples, and information on state-of-the-art research and resources for the implementation of the provisions therein.The first three papers in this collection address the topic of preventing violence against women :
Prevention of violence against women: Article 12 of the Istanbul Convention
Raising awareness of violence against women : Article 13 of the Istanbul Convention
Domestic and sexual violence perpetrator programmes: Article 16 of the Istanbul Convention
“Combating Gender Stereotypes in and through Education” - 2nd National Focal Points Conference, Helsinki, Finland, 9-10 October 2014
Education is a recognised basic human right and the promotion of gender equality in education is a prerequisite to the achievement of de facto equality between women and men in all spheres of life. The Gender Equality Commission has defined non-stereotyped education and gender mainstreaming throughout the education system as one of its key priorities. This issue has also been taken on board by the Council of Europe in its Strategy on Gender Equality and will be the focus of the 2nd annual conference of the National Focal Points. Conference website
Istanbul Convention enters into force
[01/08/2014] Three years after its opening for signature in Istanbul, the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence is entering into force on 1 August 2014. To date, 13 member states of the Council of Europe have ratified this new human rights treaty and another 23 states have signed it. The convention is open for accession by states which are not Council of Europe members.
On the occasion of the entry into force of the Istanbul Convention, the Secretary General of the Council of Europe stated: “All need to act now to improve the lives of the many women and girls who are subjected to violence simply because of their gender”.
The framework this convention creates is a blueprint for a co-ordinated, victim-centred approach to combating all forms of violence against women and domestic violence. Its focus on violence against women as gender-based violence and its links with gender inequality are testament to the fact that the Council of Europe is leading international efforts in the protection of women’s human rights. For this reason, the convention addresses domestic violence as a form of gender-based violence while not losing sight of male, child and elderly victims of domestic violence, to whom the convention may be applied if states parties wish.
With the entry into force of the Istanbul Convention, a glaring gap in the protection of women’s rights in Europe is being closed. Legally-binding standards to improve the prevention of violence, the protection of victims, and the prosecution of perpetrators through an integrated set of policies are now available. The effective implementation of the convention’s provisions will be ensured by a monitoring mechanism which will be set up by early 2015.
Fighting violence against women must become a top priority
[29 July 2014] On the eve of the entering into force of the Istanbul Convention the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights issued a statement entitled “Fighting violence against women must become a top priority”. In his statement the Commissioner refers among others to the findings of the recent Analytical study of the results of the 4th round of monitoring the implementation of Recommendation Rec(2002)5 on the protection of women against violence in Council of Europe member states. Read more....
Conference “Towards Guaranteeing equal access of women to justice” (15-16 October 2015, Bern, Switzerland)
The Swiss Federal
Office for Gender Equality and the Council of Europe Gender Equality
Commission are organising this event in 2015. Please block the dates in
your diaries and check regularly this website for
Protect women’s rights during the crisis
[10/07/2014 - Source: CoE - Commissioner for Human Rights]
Women and men entered the economic crisis on an unequal footing. The crisis and resulting austerity measures have hit women disproportionately and endangered the progress already made in the enjoyment of human rights by women. A gender-sensitive response is necessary to halt and reverse this trend.
Female poverty on the rise
In most of the countries affected by the economic crisis, an increasing feminisation of poverty has been observed. A study conducted in 2013 on access to food banks in France revealed that the primary beneficiaries were women between 26 and 50 with at least one child. This is emblematic not just of the vulnerability of lone parent families, but also of the gender implications of the crisis. In Europe there are on average 7 times more lone mothers than lone fathers. Moreover, as indicated by Eurostat, “single women over 65 are at substantially higher risk of poverty than single men of the same age”. Continue reading →
Violence against Women, the Council of Europe response
[19/03/2014] On 19 March 2014, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe held the Thematic Debate on “Violence against Women, the Council of Europe response”. All speakers acknowledged the importance and value of measures undertaken by the CoE to support member states in their efforts to prevent and combat violence against women, and in this context, highlighted the significance of the Council of Europe Strategy on Gender Equality (2014-2017) and the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (Istanbul Convention) as the only legally-binding instrument in Europe and the most far-reaching international treaty to tackle violence against women. Well targeted co-operation and synergies with other regional and international organisations, in particular EU, UN Women, OHCHR, OAS and OSCE, have raised the visibility of the Council of Europe work in the area of gender equality and protection of women against violence and led to widespread acceptance of the Istanbul Convention as a global tool to tackle gender-based violence.
The Analytical Study of the results of the 4th round of monitoring the implementation of Recommendation Rec(2002)5 on the protection of women against violence in Council of Europe member states was made available to the participants. The study provides a comprehensive overview of the situation in 46 out of the 47 member states of the Council of Europe with regard to measures to tackle violence against women and domestic violence, and provides a valuable source of information for all those involved in preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence.
Council of Europe Highlights in 2013 - Gender Equality and Violence against Women
2013 was a year rich in activities and achievements for the Council of Europe Trasversal Programme on Gender Equality. The adoption of the Council of Europe Strategy on Gender Equality (2014-2017) marked an important step in advancing the Organisation’s efforts to achieve de facto gender equality and support the implementation of standards in member states. The Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women (Istanbul Convention) has become known to wider audiences within international organisations, governments, civil society organisations and the general public … read more
Secretary General of the Council of Europe: Ratify the Council of Europe’s convention on violence against women
[25/11/2013] On the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, Secretary General Jagland encouraged states to ratify the Council of Europe’s convention on violence against women.
Secretary General welcomes multiannual gender equality strategy
Strasbourg, 13 November 2013: Addressing the Gender Equality Commission at its 4th meeting in Strasbourg, Secretary General Jagland today welcomed the elaboration of the multiannual gender equality strategy, recently adopted by the Committee of Ministers, and said he was impressed by the Gender Equality Commission's achievements with regard to six ambitious objectives:
Accelerating progress towards gender equality: the Council of Europe strategy for 2014-2017
Although the legal status of women in Europe has improved during recent decades, effective equality is far from being a reality. Even if progress is visible (educational attainment, labour market participation, political representation), gender gaps persist in many areas, maintaining men in their traditional roles and constraining women’s opportunities to affirm their fundamental rights and assert their agency. The most pronounced expression of the uneven balance of power between women and men is violence against women, which is both a human rights violation and a major obstacle to gender equality.
On 6 November 2013, the Committee of Ministers adopted the Council of Europe Gender Equality Strategy for the period 2014-2017 [link to Strategy].
The overall goal of the Strategy is to achieve the advancement and empowering of women and the effective realisation of gender equality in Council of Europe member states. The Strategy sets five strategic objectives:
The Strategy emanates from an unprecedented mobilisation in the Council of Europe through its new Transversal Gender Equality Programme. It presupposes that all Council of Europe decision-making, advisory and monitoring bodies should support and actively contribute to its implementation. The Committee of Ministers has invited the Gender Equality Commission to follow closely the implementation of the Strategy and asked the Secretary General to report annually on progress achieved.
Thorbjørn Jagland: Women's role in society is "strongest transformative force" in the world today
On the occasion of International Women's Day, Council of Europe Secretary
General Thorbjørn Jagland paid tribute to the increasing role that women
are playing in societies worldwide. From politics to business and their
role in achieving peace, he described women’s role in society as the "strongest
transformative force in the world today." The Secretary General, however,
warned that women "still earn less, decide less and they are more often
than men victims of violence". Jagland called upon governments to ratify
the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against
women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention) and to promote gender