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21 states have signed and 15 states have ratified the Convention (Albania, Andorra, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Denmark, France, Italy, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, Portugal, Serbia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey)

Headlines

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.

Acceptance speech by Marja Ruotanen, Director of Human Dignity and Equality, Council of Europe

Congratulatory speech by Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN Women Executive Director

Link to the World Future Policy Award

Information brochure on the World Future Policy Award 2014

Photos

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

Monaco ratifies the Istanbul Convention

[07/10/2014] Today H.E. Mr Jose Badia, Counsellor to the Governement for External Relations and Cooperation of Monaco, deposited the ratification instrument of the Istanbul Convention (CETS No. 210).

 Side Event by the Council of Europe and Amnesty International - Warsaw

[02/10/2014] The Istanbul Convention of the Council of Europe is the first treaty to recognise that FGM exists in Europe and that it needs to be systematically addressed. It requires states parties to step up preventive measures by addressing affected communities as well as the general public and relevant professionals. It entails obligations to offer protection and support when women and girls at risk need it most – and makes sure that their needs and their safety always come first.

 In partnership with the Amnesty International End FGM European Campaign, the Council of Europe organised, on 2
October, a Side Event during this year’s OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting in Warsaw. During this Side Event, a new provisional version of a guide on using the Istanbul Convention as a tool to end FGM was presented. This new publication, jointly prepared by the Council of Europe and Amnesty International, offers policy makers and advocates important guidance on how the provisions of the Istanbul Convention can and should be applied to put an end to this harmful practice – in Europe and beyond. The final version of this guide will be soon made available.

The Side Event took place on 2 October 2014 in the Plenary Room of the OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting, in the Sofitel Victoria Hotel in Warsaw
(more).

Conclusions
Programme
Speeches

 Celebrating the entry into force of the Istanbul Convention - Rome

[19/09/2014] In partnership with the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Italian Chamber of Deputies, the Council of Europe organised a conference in Rome on 19 September to celebrate the entry into force of the Istanbul Convention.

The Conference Safe from fear, safe from violence – celebrating the entry into force of the Istanbul Convention paid tribute to the important role of the Istanbul Convention in filling a gap in the protection of women from gender-based violence in Europe and beyond (
more).

Declaration
Programme
Speeches
Photos
Press Release
Video of the Conference

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, 14 member states of the Council of Europe have ratified this new human rights treaty and another 22 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.

Link to the video message of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe

Link to the Press release

Link to the article by the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights

Link to the TV spot on the Convention

Link to information on Monitoring

Malta ratifies the Istanbul Convention

[29/07/2014] Today, Malta deposited the ratification instrument of the Istanbul Convention (CETS No.210) to become the 14th State Party .

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 →

France ratifies the Istanbul Convention

[04/07/2014] Today Ambassador Jocelyne Caballero, Permanent Representative of France to the Council of Europe, deposited the ratification instrument of the Istanbul Convention (CETS No. 210).

Sweden ratifies the Istanbul Convention

Sweden [01/07/2014] Today, Sweden deposited the ratification instrument of the Istanbul Convention (CETS No.210) to become the 12th State Party .

Romania signs the Istanbul Convention

[27/06/2014]  On 27 June, Romania became the 25th member state of the Council of Europe to sign the Istanbul Convention. Ms Rovana Plumb, Minister of Labour, Family, Social Protection and Elderly of Romania, signed the Convention in Strasbourg in the presence of Ms Gabriella Battaini-Dragoni, Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe.

Georgia signs the Istanbul Convention

Georgia signs IC[20/06/2014]  On 19 June, Georgia became the 24th member state of the Council of Europe to sign the Istanbul Convention. Ms Thea Tsulukiani, Minister of Justice of Georgia, signed the Convention in Strasbourg in the presence of Mr Thorbjørn Jagland, Secretary General of the Council of Europe

The importance of the Istanbul Convention is highlighted in the second volume of Femicide: A Global Issue that Demands Action, published by the Academic Council on the United Nations System

Femicide[16/06/2014]  The Academic Council on the United Nations System (ACUN) has launched the second volume of Femicide: A Global Issue that Demands Action.” Since the publication of the first volume, the ACUNS Vienna femicide team has assisted in drafting and supported the adoption of General Assembly Resolution 68/191 Taking action against gender-related killing of women and girls.

This publication stems from the international symposium Forced Marriage, Violence against Migrant Women and the Istanbul Convention held in Vienna on 25 November 2013 on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. In addition to the symposium proceedings, the publication includes recent resolutions and legal instruments from UN bodies, statements of high-ranking officials, and country and regional reports on femicide/feminicide. Other important issues are also addressed, such as early, child and forced marriage, the use of sexual violence as a tactic of war, women's vulnerability in armed conflict, pregnancies resulting from rape, as well as structural and domestic violence against migrant women. Contributors call for an end to impunity and the thorough investigation and prosecution of those responsible for these serious crimes.

This resource book is expected to contribute to global efforts to stop femicide and all forms of violence against women and girls. To that end, the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women is amply discussed, with lead contributions from Professor Feride Acar, Ambassador Dubravka Simonovic, Ms Gisela Wurm, Ms Liri Kopaçi-Di Michele and Mr José Mendes Bota. The contributors stress the unique potential of the Istanbul Convention as the most powerful legally binding set of standards for preventing and combating violence against women, and its relevance as a global tool in and beyond Europe.

The publication was made possible by the support of Thailand Institute of Justice, the Austrian Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs, the City of Vienna, the Organization of the Families of Asia and the Pacific (OFAP), and the Vienna Renner Institute.

"Adoption of EU Council Conclusions on preventing and combating Violence against Women, including FGM"

[06/06/2014 - source EWL] The Council of the European Union Justice and Home Affairs issued conclusions on Preventing and combating all forms of violence against women and girls, including female genital mutilation. The European Women’s Lobby (EWL) strongly welcomes this political statement, which reiterates the recognition of violence against women as a priority issue to address in Europe today.

The Conclusions state that violence against women and other forms of gender-based violence constitute "a breach of the fundamental right to life, liberty, security, dignity, equality between women and men, non-discrimination and physical and mental integrity1 and refrains women and girls from their full enjoyment of human rights, and in this context sexual and reproductive health and rights, in accordance with the Beijing Platform for Action and the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development". Read more....

"Inter-American Forum on the Prevention of Violence against Women, Pachuca (Mexico) 14-15 May 2014"

Belem do Para Convention[05/06/2014] The Council of Europe took part in the “Hemispheric Forum on The Belém do Pará Convention and the Prevention of Violence against Women: Good practices and proposals for the future” held in Pachuca (Mexico) on 14-15 May 2014. The two-day event marked the 20th anniversary of the Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence against Women (the “Belem do Pará Convention”) which was adopted in 1994. This Hemispheric Forum focused on prevention of violence against women in three key fields: justice, education and communication/media.

The Council of Europe was invited to participate in the panel ‘A view from the international level’ to present the CoE’s work on the role of media in preventing and combating violence against women, including through the implementation of the Council of Europe Istanbul and anti-trafficking Conventions, as well as the recommendations of the Council of Europe Conference on “Media and the Image of Women”, the Recommendation of the Committee of Minister on Gender Equality and Media and the Council of Europe Strategy for Gender Equality 2014-2017.

Over 500 participants, from 34 countries, took part in the discussions that led to the adoption of the “Declaration of Pachuca: Strengthening efforts to prevent violence against women” (available in English and in Spanish.)

French Parliament ratifies the Istanbul Convention

French Parliament[22/05/2014] On 21 May, the French Parliament appproved the ratification of the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (Istanbul Convention). France called on all other member states to sign and ratify the Convention. For more information, please click here. The Council of Europe looks forward to the deposit of the ratification instrument in Strasbourg.

San Marino signs the Istanbul Convention!

San Marino Signature[30/04/2014] Today, San Marino became the 23rd member state of the Council of Europe to sign the Istanbul Convention. Ambassador Barbara Para, Permanent Representative of San Marino to the Council of Europe, signed the Convention in the presence of the Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe.

Denmark ratifies the Istanbul Convention!

Denmark[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!

Parliament Andorra[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.

Link to the press release of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe.

Spain ratifies the Istanbul Convention. Only one more ratification for the Convention to enter into force!

Spanish[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

Steering Committe Meeting Ukraine[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.

Wounded to death[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).

E-mail: womenfreefromviolence@coe.int Link to Ferite a morte

 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 22nd 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

Side Event NY 2014[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.

Event special file

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 the 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 confirms that violence against women is an extensive and widely under-reported human rights abuse across the EU, with 33% of respondents having experienced physical and/or sexual violence since the age of 15; 22% having experienced physical and/or sexual violence by a partner; and 67% admitting not having reported the most serious incident of partner violence to the police or any other organisation.

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:

www.theguardian.com/world/2014/mar/05/violence-against-women-eu

Une Européenne sur trois victime de violence physique ou sexuelle

Extent of violence against women in EU revealed

The violence epidemic: Half of women in Britain admit they have been physically or sexually assaulted according to shocking new figures

Jede dritte Frau in der EU Opfer von Männergewalt

One Billion Rising for Justice for Women Victims of Violence

1 billion rising for justice 
[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

IC 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)

Françosie Imbert [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

CoE Highlights 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

Scottish Parliament [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).
 
Video on Istanbul Convention
Forthcoming events
25 November 2014, New York. Panel Discussion on Violence against Women: Best Laws and Policies : Learning from the winners of the 2014 Future Policy Award. Organised by UN Women, the World Future Council and the Inter-Parliamentary Union.
Quiz
What's in the Convention?
Media
Media Coverage on the Istanbul Convention

Council of Europe

 Children's rights - child abuse

Trafficking in human beings

Campaign (2006-2008) "Stop domestic violence"

The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities