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Turkey's withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention - an inadmissible regression in women's rights in Europe

Declaration by the Conference of INGOs
Strasbourg 23 March 2021
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Turkey's withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention - an inadmissible regression in women's rights in Europe

Millions of us are shocked by the decree signed by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, published in the Official Gazette on 19 March 2021, without any parliamentary debate and without hearing the voice of Turkish civil society in favour of the Istanbul Convention and the protection it provides against domestic violence and all acts of gender-based violence that result or are likely to result in physical, sexual, psychological or economic harm or suffering to the victims.

The withdrawal from this Convention is an inadmissible regression of women's rights in Europe and in itself a denial of the acts of femicide that occur all over Europe, including in Turkey.

Why can't Turkish women be safe in their own homes? Why is this not a major concern for the Council of Europe member State that, 10 years ago, hosted the opening of the Istanbul Convention for signature?

The Conference of INGOs in its Recommendation adopted on 15 October 2020 (CONF/PLE(2020)REC) called on States to strengthen and renew their commitments to end violence against women, not to reject international treaties designed to protect women and hold perpetrators responsible.

We, the Women and Men of Europe, stand in deep unity with our sisters and brothers in Turkey who are for the most part opposed to such a renunciation and call on this member State of the Council of Europe to change this decision, which is so cruel to the future of women in Turkey.