Non-Governmental Organisations

Recommendation adopted on 28 January 2009

Proposed Council of Europe Convention to prevent and combat violence against women and domestic violence

The Conference of INGOs of the Council of Europe,

Referring to:

    - the Declaration adopted by its Standing Committee on 3 October 2008 ;

    - the Parliamentary Assembly Recommendation 1847(2008) on “Combating violence against women : towards a Council of Europe convention” and Resolution1635 (2008) on the same subject ;

    - the reply of the Committee of Ministers from 15 October 2008 on the Parliamentary Assembly Recommendation 1847(2008);

    - the decision taken by the Committee of Ministers (10 December 2008) to set up a committee to prepare one or more legally binding instrument(s), as appropriate, to combat violence against women and domestic violence ;

    - the definition of violence against women formulated in Recommendation 2002(5) of the Committee of Ministers and considering that the convention should include provisions and necessary measures to protect victims of gender-based violence, to prevent and to prosecute violence against women.

Considering that violence against women affects almost 80 million women across Europe and is recognised as a serious human rights violation and a major obstacle in the promotion and consolidation of peace and democracy in Europe;

Considering therefore that there is an urgent need to stop all forms of violence against women;

Welcomes the proposal to draft a Council of Europe Convention to prevent and combat violence against women and domestic violence and is ready to contribute as a member of the drafting Committee to the elaboration of the convention and to its future monitoring system;
Welcomes the recommendation of the Task Force (Campaign to combat violence against women, including domestic violence) to appoint a special Rapporteur for Europe on violence against women to work closely with the Human Rights Commissioner and with the UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women as well as with the respective Special Rapporteurs of the Inter-American Commission and the African Union.

Recommends to the Committee of Ministers:

1. To cover in the future convention all forms of gender-based violence whether in the home, workplace, the community or society, in custody or in situations of armed conflict and not only violence against women in the domestic sphere ;

2. To include in the future convention provisions on the prevention and the prosecution of forced marriages, “honour killings” and female genital mutilation as well as recognizing the specific forms of psychological harm caused by such practises. Customs, traditions or practices in the name of religion or culture should not be accepted as an excuse to harmful practises or as a mitigating circumstance;

3. To also include in the future convention an independent monitoring mechanism to keep legislation under constant review and continue to reform it in the light of new information and understanding.