Denmark ratifies the Istanbul Convention
[23/04/2014] Today, Denmark deposited the ratification instrument of the Istanbul Convention (CETS No.210) to become the 11th State Party .
Andorra ratifies the Istanbul Convention, triggering its entry into force this summer!
[22/04/2014] Today, Andorra became the 10th member state to ratify the Istanbul Convention, triggering the entry into force on 1 August 2014. This ratification marks a new era in the promotion and protection of women’s human rights in Europe and beyond! The first European treaty on violence against women and domestic violence, the Convention closes the gap in the protection of fundamental human rights of women by requiring states parties to prevent violence, protect its victims, prosecute the perpetrators, and to co-ordinate any such measures through comprehensive policies.
Spain ratifies the Istanbul Convention. Only one more ratification for the Convention to enter into force!
[10/04/2014] Today Ambassador Fernando ALVARGONZÁLEZ, Permanent Representative of Spain to the Council of Europe, deposited the ratification instrument of the Istanbul Convention (CETS No. 210).
Project on violence against women in Ukraine – 1st Steering Committee meeting
[08/04/2014] The Steering Committee of the Project “Preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence in Ukraine” held its first meeting on 3 April 2014 in Kyiv. The meeting was chaired by Ms Nataliya Fedorovych, Deputy Minister of Social Policy of Ukraine, and attended by representatives of all key project partners: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Health, General Prosecutor Office, Office of the Ombudsperson of Ukraine, State Statistical Service, Gender Strategic Platform (NGOs), Verkhovna Rada representative, as well as the Supreme Court of Ukraine, and the donor Sida as observes.
Participants discussed the situation of violence against women in Ukraine, action undertaken, achievements and outstanding challenges. The Council of Europe project intervention and logic were welcomed. The project documentation, which lays out the basis of future work and activities, was approved unanimously.
The Project is funded by the Government of Sweden, and implemented by the Council of Europe.
Agenda of the meeting (in English and Ukrainian)
Wounded to death, Strasbourg, 9 April 2014, 2 p.m.
[02/04/2014] The next meeting of the Parliamentary Network “Women Free from Violence” will consist of the performance of the theatre show “Wounded to death”, by the Italian writer and TV entertainer Serena Dandini.
“Wounded to death” features short stories of women who have died as a result of gender-based violence. The stories are read at the first person in order for the audience to understand how the victim felt. For this special performance at the Council of Europe, readers will include the President of the Parliamentary Assembly, the Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe, a number of Network members, the French photographer and director Carole Mathieu Castelli and Serena Dandini.
After the performance, Network members will hold an exchange of views with the author.
Interpretation will be provided in English, French, German, Italian and Russian.
If you wish to attend, please let us know before Monday 7 April. We kindly ask all participants to be in the room by 13h50 (Room 5, Palais de l’Europe).
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.
Hungary signs the Istanbul Convention
[14/03/2014] Today, Hungary became the 25th member state of the Council of Europe to sign the Istanbul Convention.
The Convention of Belém do Pará and the Istanbul Convention: A response to violence against women worldwide 10 March 2014, UN Headquarters, New York, United States of America – A side event at the 58th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women
[5/03/2014] The Side Event will examine the impact of Belém do Pará 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 will promote the global implementation of the standards of the two Conventions to strategically and effectively address all forms of violence against women.
The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights publishes the main results of an EU-wide Survey on Violence against Women
[5/03/2014] The main results of
FRA’s survey on Violence against Women, published on 5 March 2014, includes data on women’s experiences of
physical, sexual and psychological violence across EU member states.
The survey includes a recommendation for the EU to explore the possibility of accession to the Council of Europe’s Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (Istanbul Convention), and further indicates that the results of the survey can support EU member states in ratifying the Istanbul Convention.
Links to media coverage:Jede dritte Frau in der EU Opfer von Männergewalt
One Billion Rising for Justice for Women Victims of Violence[14/02/2014] It is estimated that one in three women on the planet will be raped or beaten in her lifetime. That is one billion women. ONE BILLION RISING FOR JUSTICE this year highlights women’s right to be safe from violence and the need for creating spaces of safety for women in all institutions that are mandated to facilitate their access to justice. The campaign also highlights that violence against women intersects with other sources of inequality, such as poverty and racism. More on the campaign here: http://www.onebillionrising.org/about/campaign/
For the Council of Europe, access to justice is a human right and an integral element of promoting the rule of law. In 2012, the Gender Equality Commission (GEC) of the Council of Europe commissioned a Feasibility Study on Equal Access of Women to Justice, which highlighted a number of obstacles that limit women’s opportunities to claim their rights in court. As a first follow-up event, a Hearing on “Access to Justice for Women Victims of Violence” was held in Paris on 9 December 2013, where legal, institutional, social and cultural barriers faced by women victims of violence seeking justice were discussed, as well as measures that can help to remove them. The Conclusions of the Paris hearing highlight a number of barriers still faced by women victims of violence to access justice. Socio-economic and cultural barriers to equal access to justice for women victims of violence include fear and shame, lack of awareness about official procedures and assistance available, economic dependence and concern for children and the gendered impact of austerity measures. In addition, women victims of violence face legal and procedural barriers, including lengthy criminal proceedings, high attrition, corruption and low conviction rates and discriminatory practices. Access to justice for vulnerable groups of women victims of violence is also critical, including the provision of support services in a language that they can understand, and taking account of multiple grounds for discrimination (migrant women, disabled women, Roma women, LGBT, poorer women, older women and women in detention).
With the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (Istanbul Convention), preventing and combatting such violence is no longer a matter of goodwill, but a legally binding obligation. In order to increase access to justice for women victims of violence, SIGN, RATIFY AND IMPLEMENT THE ISTANBUL CONVENTION!
The Istanbul Convention and FGM[10/02/2014] For more information please read our factsheet on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
Violence against Women : Deputy's draft law authorising ratification of the Istanbul Convention (French only)[04/02/2014] (Source: La Dépêche du Midi - France) Françoise Imbert a présenté mercredi devant la Commission des Affaires étrangères (CAE), le projet de loi autorisant la ratification de la Convention du Conseil de l’Europe sur la prévention et la lutte contre les violences à l’égard des femmes et la violence domestique. Plus communément appelée «Convention d’Istanbul», elle est le premier instrument international combinant trois caractéristiques importantes. Contrairement aux autres conventions internationales sur le sujet, celle présentée par la députée de la 5e circonscription de la Haute-Garonne s’avère être un réel instrument juridiquement contraignant qui, dit-elle «permet de détailler, mais surtout lutter efficacement contre la violence à l’égard des femmes et la violence domestique. Read more...
Council of Europe Gender Equality and Violence against Women Highlights in 2013[31/01/2014] 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...
Forced marriage: Scottish Parliament agrees to apply proposed new UK law, in line with Istanbul Convention[24/01/2014] Forced marriage is to become a criminal offence in Scotland, bringing legislation closer in line with the Istanbul Convention. Scottish Parliament agreed to apply the proposed Antisocial Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill currently going through the UK Parliament. Read more about it here (source: STV) and here (source: the Courier).
The European Women's Lobby at the European Parliament in Strasbourg - 10 December 2013[13/12/2013] Members of European Parliament join Women’s NGOs and the Council of Europe in their call for the Istanbul Convention as a tool to promote Women’s Rights and to eradicate Sexual Violence and Rape. Read more.... source: EWL and watch the video (4mins 15 seconds into the video)
Hearing on "Access to justice for Women victims of violence" - Paris, France, 9 December 2013[09/12/2013] The Council of Europe Gender Equality Commission in partnership with the French authorities is organising a Hearing on “Access to justice for women victims of violence”. The Hearing is part of the activities and on-going work in the area of Equal Access of Women to Justice –defined as a priority by the Council of Europe Gender Equality Commission (GEC).
Themes to be discussed will include among others: Equal access of women to justice - developments and standards ; Access to justice for women victims of violence: Council of Europe and other relevant regional and international standards ; Assessing and addressing barriers women face in the justice chain (including legal, procedural, socio-economic and cultural barriers) ; Experiences and good practices from Council of Europe member states.
For more information about the hearing please clik on the Link to the website of the hearing
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. Read more....
Serbia ratifies the Istanbul Convention. Only another 2 ratifications and the Istanbul Convention will enter into force![21/11/2013] Today, Serbia became the eighth member state of the Council of Europe to ratify the Istanbul Convention. Only 2 more to go!
Women’s Aid and Trade Union Congress (TUC) urge the UK Government to ratify the Istanbul Convention[15/11/2013] On 25 November Women’s Aid Federation of England and the TUC will be launching a campaign asking the UK Government to ratify the Council of Europe’s Istanbul Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence.
The UK Government signed the Convention in 2011 but two years later has still not ratified it. Ratifying the Convention will mean the UK Government will have to bring its provisions into force through domestic policy and legislation, this will strengthen the protection of women escaping domestic violence and send a clear signal that the UK will not tolerate violence against women.
See the website www.womensaid.org.uk or @womensaid on Twitter for more information.
Austria ratifies the Istanbul Convention. Only another 3 ratifications and the Istanbul Convention will enter into force![14/11/2013] Today, Austria became the seventh member state of the Council of Europe to ratify the Istanbul Convention. The Minister for Foreign Affairs of Austria, Mr Michael Spindelegger, signed the Convention in the presence of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, during the presentation of priorities of his country’s chairmanship of the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers for the coming six months.
Exhibition of national campaign posters to combat violence against women, Agora Building[13/11/2013] An Exhibition of national campaign posters to combat violence against women is being held in the lobby of the Agora Building, Council of Europe, Strasbourg. The aim of the exhibition is to show how Europe is combating violence against women. It is also aimed at marking the International Day to Eliminate Violence against Women (25 November) and will be a contribution to the 16 Days of Activism against gender-based violence lasting from 25 November to 10 December 2013.
This exhibition is organised by the Gender Equality and Violence against Women Division of the Directorate General of Human Rights and Legal Affairs of the Council of Europe. Link to the posters...
Bosnia and Herzegovina ratifies the Istanbul Convention![07/11/2013] Today, Bosnia-Herzegovina became the sixth member state of the Council of Europe to ratify the Istanbul Convention. Ambassador Almir Šahović, Permanent Representative of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the Council of Europe, signed the Convention in the presence of the Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe.
"Progress in Women's Human Rights in the third year of Istanbul Convention, Istanbul" - Turkey, 6-8 November 2013[07/11/2013] The Minister of Family and Social Policies of Turkey, Ms. Fatma Şahin, opened today an international Conference aiming to assess the impact of the Istanbul Convention so far, promote it as a global tool for advancing women’s rights and encourage its ratification and implementation. In her opening remarks, Marja Ruotanen, Director of Justice and Human Dignity of the Council of Europe, called for the support of both governments and international organisations so that the Convention can display soon all its strong positive potential. Link to the website of the conference...
"Ratification of the Istanbul Convention is imperative" for efforts to address feminicide[24/10/2013] Green MEPs together with members of the Women's Rights Committee (FEMM) of the European Parliament and in co-operation with human rights and feminist NGOs, as well as UN Women, are taking a stand against “feminicide” (feminicidio in Spanish) or “the murder of women because they are women”. In this new video campaign launched at the European Parliament, MEP Ska Keller from the Groupe des Verts/ ALE and Ms. Cécile Gréboval, Secretary General of the European Women’s Lobby underline that the ratification of the Council of Europe Istanbul Convention is “imperative” for efforts to address feminicide in Europe and Latin America.
"The Human Rights of Women: Good Practices in Gender Justice" - Buenos Aires, Argentina, 25-27 September 2013[30/09/2013] Marja Ruotanen, Director of Justice and Human Dignity, represented the Council of Europe at the International Seminar on “Human Rights of Women: Good Practices in Gender Justice” (Buenos Aires, Argentina, 25 - 27 September 2013). The International Seminar brought together high level representatives from governments and justice institutions of Latin America, representatives of regional and international organisations and human rights bodies. In her intervention, Ms Ruotanen highlighted the pioneering work of the Council of Europe in the areas of human rights, rule of law and democracy, with particular focus on issues related to gender equality, access to justice and the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combatting violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention) as a global tool to en gender based violence and ensure access to justice for women victims of violence. Link to the website of the event. Link to the website of the event
Peace One Day Celebration 2013, The Hague, 21 September 2013[12/09/2013] The Council of Europe's contribution to the Peace Day on 21 September 2013 will focus on raising awareness of violence against women and domestic violence, the Istanbul Convention as a tool to end gender based violence, and the No Hate Speech Movement.. Read more...
Switzerland signs the Istanbul Convention![11/09/2013] Today, Switzerland became the 26th member state of the Council of Europe to sign the Istanbul Convention. Ambassador Charles-Edouard Held, Permanent Representative of Switzerland to the Council of Europe, signed the Convention in the presence of the Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe.
Italy ratifies the Istanbul Convention![10/09/2013] Today, Italy became the fifth member state of the Council of Europe to ratify the Istanbul Convention. Ms Maria-Cecilia Guerra, Vice Minister of Labour and Social Policies, delegated responsibility for Equal Opportunities of Italy, deposited the instrument of ratification in Strasbourg in the presence of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe.
New project with EWL: Europe mobilises against rape and for the Istanbul Convention as a tool for change![9/09/2013] The Council of Europe and the European Women’s Lobby (EWL) will start a new project to promote the Council of Europe’s Istanbul Convention with a specific focus on using the Convention to improve criminal legislation in the area of sexual violence, including rape. Read more...
CEDAW urges UK to ratify the Istanbul Convention[19/08/2013] At its 55th session that took place in Geneva, 8-26 July, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) considered the seventh periodic report of the United Kingdom on its implementation of the provisions of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. The seventh periodic report of the UK is available here (CEDAW/C/GBR/7).
In its Concluding observations (CEDAW/C/GBR/CO/7), the Committee commended the UK for a number of positive developments, but also raised several issues of concern. As a first recommendation in the area of violence against women, the Committee urged the United Kingdom to ratify the Istanbul Convention. The Committee also formulated several other specific recommendations to the State Party, such as to increase its efforts in the protection of women, continue public awareness-raising campaigns on all forms of violence against women, including black and ethnic minority women, and intensify efforts to train police officers to eliminate prejudices concerning the credibility of victims of domestic violence.
The UK signed the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence in June 2012 and expressed its intention to ratify it.
Amnesty International publishes “Ending female genital mutilation: Where do we stand in Europe?[17/07/2013] Amnesty International’s new publication Ending female genital mutilation: Where do we stand in Europe? provides an update on the situation in Europe in relation to the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM). It consolidates the knowledge and commitments gathered by AI’s END FGM Campaign through its Art for Action tour which ended in February 2013. The publication features an infographic with key facts, descriptions of promising practices in Europe and recommendations for Europe to act against FGM, including a call for EU and its member states to “sign and ratify the Council of Europe Convention”. The Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (Istanbul Convention) is a comprehensive legal instrument that would address not only FGM but all other forms of gender-based violence. The publication can be accessed here. For more information on the Istanbul Convention and FGM, please access the thematic factsheet on FGM.
Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights: Opinion editorial on violence against women[11/07/2013] In an opinion editorial published yesterday by New Europe, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils Muižnieks, warns that violence against women is one of the most widespread and serious human rights violations occurring every day in Europe. "Only in the last three weeks more than five women have been killed in different countries, including Austria, Italy, Spain and Ukraine. These murders are only the tip of a much larger iceberg of thousands of cases happening all over the world. If one includes non-lethal violence against women in the tally, it becomes clear that change is urgent." The Commissioner further draws the attention of Member States to five key areas where gender sensitive measures should be reinforced. Read the article
Switzerland to sign the Istanbul Convention[10/07/2013] On 3 July, the Federal Council adopted the Istanbul Convention meaning that Switzerland will soon sign the treaty. For more information
Denmark to sign the Istanbul Convention[9/07/2013] On 27 June 2013, the Danish government decided to sign the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence. The government expects to submit a bill regarding Denmark’s ratification of the Convention during the next parliamentary session. Source: Women’s Council in Denmark
Media and the Image of Women (4-5 July 2013, Amsterdam)
Conference of the Council of Europe Gender Equality Commission organised in partnership with the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science of the Netherlands[1/07/2013, Amsterdam] Gender stereotyping presents a serious obstacle to the achievement of real gender equality and encourages gender discrimination. Every day, all over the world, we are exposed to images and information from a wide array of sources. Such content plays a crucial role in shaping our opinions and values and our idea of what is desirable and acceptable behaviour for women and men. Through the acceptance and imitation of these so-called “role models”, harmful gender stereotypes are perpetuated affecting every aspect of our lives”. The Conference will seek to address issues such as stereotyping and sexism, leadership of women in the media, the role of new technologies and freedom of expression and gender equality. (link to the Conference website)
French Minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacem: the Istanbul Convention is “a fundamental text and a benchmark at the international level”[27/06/2013, Strasbourg] France’s Minister of Women’s Rights reaffirmed her support for the swift ratification of the Istanbul Convention by France and pledged her commitment to continue to promote it in all her exchanges with other States.
Speaking at an exchange of views with the PACE Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination, Minister Vallaud-Belkacem focused her intervention on the issue of violence against women. She stressed that violence against women, in its different forms, including sexual violence, domestic violence and harmful traditional practices, was still widespread globally and in France. The Istanbul Convention, for the first time, addresses violence against women in a comprehensive way and it provides for a detailed set of measures to prevent violence, protect its victims and prosecute the perpetrators.
Recalling the Side event at the 57th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women organised by the Permanent Mission of the Republic of France to the United Nations and the Council of Europe witht the participation of UN Women (4 March 2013), Minister Vallaud-Belkacem highlighted that UN Women had referred to the Istanbul Convention as the global ‘gold standard’ in preventing and combating violence against women. The Minister herself considers the Convention “a fundamental text and a benchmark at the international level”.
Minister Vallaud-Belkacem declared her impatience to see the 10 ratifications required for the Convention to enter into force and expressed assurance that France would be among this first group of countries to ratify the Istanbul Convention.
The entire exchange of views with the Committee of Equality and Non-Discrimination can be viewed here:
The Serbian Parliament started to examine the ratification of the Istanbul Convention[05/06/2013, Belgrade] On 5th June, the Serbian Parliament started to examine the ratification of the Istanbul Convention. Will Serbia be the 5th country to ratify? (more...)
Stop Violence against Women by Implementing International Standards, 30 May 2013, Geneva
A Side Event at the 23rd Session of the UN Human Rights Council co-organised by the Council of Europe and the Permanent Mission of Turkey to the United Nations Office at Geneva[30/05/2013, UN Palais, Geneva] The side event will be to present the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention) as a global tool to end gender based violence.
Say No-UNite to End Violence against Women[March 2013] In the framework of the “Say No-UNiTE to End Violence against Women” campaign, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Serbia, Slovakia, and Sweden have stated their commitment to the Istanbul Convention. For more information, please visit: http://saynotoviolence.org/commit
Violence against women: our concern, our response
A Side Event at the 57th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women co-organised by the Council of Europe and the Permanent Mission of France to the United Nations
[04/02/2013, UN Headquarters, New York] The Side Event will present the added value of the Istanbul Convention in the framework of international and regional legally binding treaties. It will also highlight its significance as an efficient and practical tool for governments to prevent and combat violence against women and domestic violence in Europe and beyond.