Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention)

OAS Argentina COE

The Convention of Belém do Pará and the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women (Istanbul Convention):
A response to violence against women worldwide

A side event at the 58th Session
of the Commission on the Status of Women

New York - DHL Auditorium, UN Headquarters - Monday, 10 March 2014, 4.45 - 6.00 pm


General Consideration

Violence is a daily reality for millions of women across the world. It happens on the streets, in schools, at work, in the media, and worse and more often, in their own homes. It is routinely used to silence, oppress, restrain and kill women. The examples of violence against women are endless, its victims countless. Many women are too afraid or ashamed to seek help, often paying for their silence with their lives. Three important conventions are addressing this issue: the UN Convention to eliminate all forms of discrimination against women (CEDAW, 1979), the Organization of American States Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence against Women (Belém do Pará, 1994) and the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention, 2011). Taken together, the three regional treaties make up a global human rights legal framework to strategically and effectively address all forms of violence against women. Their respective monitoring bodies constitute a unique opportunity for the international community to identify both problems and solutions.

The Side Event will examine the impact Belem do Para Convention in the harmonization of legislation in the States Parties, the potential of the Istanbul Convention as a reference framework for action at national level and promote the global implementation of the standards of the two conventions.

The Belém do Pará Convention

This historic agreement - the first intergovernmental agreement that explicitly addresses violence against women - has given a guideline for the adoption of laws and policies on violence against women in all the States Parties, as well as a policy and strategic framework for its implementation.

The Convention has inspired action and information campaigns, laws and procedures, care models, gender awareness and training processes with legal, health and safety staff, monitoring, tracing and evaluation initiatives, and advisory and support services for women who experience violence.

Despite progress, and the 20th anniversary of the Convention, violence against women persists in the Americas, while American institutions created to face the problem have not produced the desired impact. In its First Hemispheric Report (2008), the Follow-up Mechanism to the Belém do Pará Convention (MESECVI) notes that since the adoption of the Convention "...major achievements in the prevention and punishment of violence against women have been attained, and there is greater awareness on the part of the States on the need to address this issue. Nevertheless, much still needs to be done to make effective the right of women to a life free of violence."

The Istanbul Convention

The Istanbul Convention is the first legally binding instrument in Europe to prevent and combat violence against women and domestic violence and in terms of scope it is the most far-reaching international treaty to tackle this serious violation of human rights. It aims at zero tolerance for violence against women and domestic violence and is a major step forward in making Europe and beyond a safer place.

Preventing violence, protecting its victims and prosecuting the perpetrators are the cornerstones of the Convention, as is the requirement to co-ordinate any such measures through comprehensive policies.

The Convention covers victims from any background, regardless of their age, race, religion, social origin, migrant status or sexual orientation and calls for the criminalisation of psychological violence, stalking, sexual harassment, forced marriage, female genital mutilation, forced abortion and forced sterilisation. The Istanbul Convention and its provisions stem from the in-depth analysis of problems and solutions tested throughout the Council of Europe member states and beyond: they are good practices brought up to the level of a legally binding instrument. Practical and detailed, the Istanbul Convention is a global blueprint for laws and policies to end violence against women and domestic violence.


Flyer and Publication

Download the PDF version (English; French; Spanish)

Publication "Regional tools to fight violence against women: The Belém do Pará and Istanbul Conventions" (English; Spanish)

Co-organised by

Organization of American States

The Permanent Mission of the Republic of France to the United Nations

The Permanent Mission of the Republic of Argentina to the United Nations

The keynote speakers

  Ms Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, Minister for Women’s Rights and Government Spokesperson (France)

  Ms Linda J. Poole, former Executive Secretary, Inter-American Commission of Women

  Ms Ana Falú, Professor, researcher and social activist on human rights and gender issues

Concluding remarks

  H.E. Ms María Cristina Perceval, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Permanent Representative of Argentina to the United Nations


  Ms Gabriella Battaini-Dragoni, Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe

Photos and video




  Ms Liri Kopaçi-Di Michele
Head of Division

  Ms Valérie Giret-Lerch
Administrative Assistant