"We are all concerned about violence against women and each of us can take action against this scourge," said Anders KNAPE, President of the Congress on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, on 25 November 2018. "As citizens, we must dare to talk about it. And as local and regional elected representatives, we have an increased responsibility because we stand closest to the citizens to intervene," he added.
The President of the Congress stressed the need for specific actions at territorial level involving all stakeholders and the importance of an adequate legal framework. The Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence - the so-called Istanbul Convention - has so far been ratified by 33 member countries. "Freedom from violence is a right enshrined in the Convention. We must make it a daily reality in all our territories," he concluded by calling on local and regional authorities to encourage their governments that have not yet done so to ratify this Convention.
The Congress has been working for several years to promote women's rights. Most recently, it sponsored two “lab” sessions as part of its contribution to the World Forum for Democracy, whose 2018 edition focused on women's public, political and economic participation and on combating violence against women in the wake of the #MeToo movement.
During the last decade, the Congress adopted a recommendation and resolution on combating domestic violence, called for the development of strategies and measures at the local level (2009) and actively participated in the Council of Europe campaign "Stop domestic violence against women" (2006-2008). It launched, in this context, a poster campaign in the streets and subways of many European cities under the slogan "Cities and regions take a stand to fight violence against women". Congress’ work to promote women's rights also focuses on women's political participation and representation (2016), the gender perspective in budgetary processes (2016) and the fight against the feminisation of poverty (2015).