Violations of women’s human rights are still common and have actually increased in some regions of Europe in recent years. Women are often exposed to practices which could be classed as torture or inhuman or degrading treatment. These include domestic violence, sexual harassment, rape, forced marriage, honour killings, genital mutilation and trafficking in human beings.

Violations of women’s human rights have important economic consequences. Violence against women not only has an important personal and social cost but also an economic cost.

Our recent Stocktaking study on the measures and actions taken in Council of Europe member states to combat violence against women gives the results of a number of studies undertaken in Council of Europe member states. In particular, it gives the ratio between the estimated annual costs and the population of the country. The results of this study show that the estimated total annual cost of violence against women in Council of Europe member states could be as high as 34 billion euros, and that the cost is as high as 555 euros per capita per annum.

That is why I argue that there is an economic argument as well as a moral argument against this abuse of human rights, and for both reasons I urge member states to actively support our pan-European campaign to combat violence against women, including domestic violence which will be launched in November. (more…)