Testimonies: The Istanbul Convention saves lives
The different provisions of the Istanbul Convention are inspiring action and are driving change in responding to the different forms of violence against women and domestic violence. They bring hope and a greater feeling of safety to millions of women and girls. Addressing a societal issue such as violence against women means bringing it into the open. It helps victims speak out, enables professionals to respond appropriately, and instils a sense of trust and hope in women and girls. In short, the Istanbul Convention saves lives. The following soundbites give an impression of the transformative power of the Istanbul Convention call for more efforts to extend its ratification and implementation in the years to come.
Secretary General of the European Women's Lobby
With the increased risk of violence brought by the COVID-19 crisis, women and girls in Europe need the Istanbul Convention more than ever to be protected from violence inside and outside their homes.
Ana Pelaez Narvaez
Vice President of the European Disability Forum
The Istanbul Convention is a hopeful response to the desperate call for support by women and girls with disabilities who, for the first time, were included in an instrument which specifically protects them and criminalises forced abortion and forced sterilisation to which they are frequently subjected.
Director of the Europe regional office Amnesty International
Amnesty International has used the Istanbul Convention as a guidepost in our work to improve access to justice for survivors of sexual violence in our “Let’s talk about Yes” campaign throughout Europe. We need to reform outdated rape laws to make them consent based.
Co-Convenors of the International Committee on the Rights of Sex Workers in Europe (ICRSE)
The Istanbul Convention is very important as it precisely aims to address stereotypes, prejudices and gender bias, and it articulates the fundamental right for every woman to live a life free from violence. Women’s voices, including those of sex workers, need to be at the centre of discussions about gender-based violence.
UNHCR Assistant High Commissioner for Protection
The Istanbul Convention is important because, among many of its provisions to protect and uphold the rights of women, it also provides for gender-sensitive reception and asylum procedures.
Director of the NGO “Women Support Center” (Armenia)
The Istanbul Convention was my lighthouse guiding me to best practices to prevent and protect victims of domestic violence. It allowed me to better advocate with the state agencies on international standards for providing services to victims. I hope my country will ratify it .
Legal Adviser and Independent Expert on Gender Equality (Bosnia Herzegovina)
Victims of violence against women and domestic violence deserve our full commitment to implement the Istanbul Convention. Let us take action today!
Director of PICUM
Too often being undocumented means a woman’s experience of violence remains invisible. Ten years after its signature, we celebrate the Istanbul Convention as a landmark effort to tackle the ongoing scourge that is violence against women – and to lift up all women, without distinction based on migration status or any other ground.
Being a woman with rights in the 21st century is not an achievement or a title! Can we afford to continue being silent behind our masks when even a single woman is the subject of violence, verbal and non-verbal aggression, repression and discrimination? Saving a woman from the abyss of violence means saving a life! I hope that Bulgaria will ratify the Istanbul Convention soon!
Psychologist, sexual violence referral Center (SERI), (Finland)
When we take care of women and children who have confronted the difficulty of sexual violence, we make society a better place for all – also for men. The Istanbul Convention gives us concrete tools to do this in our own communities.
End FGM European Network Young Ambassador and member of Equipop (France)
The Istanbul Convention is extremely important because it acts as a basis for our work as ambassadors of NGOs fighting for women’s rights and to end FGM. We can take support from it, and have a legislative basis recognised at European level for our work.
Founder of Conversations on Consent (Germany)
The Istanbul Conversation, article 36, inspired us to launch “Conversations on Consent” to revolutionise sexual criminal law by defining consent and coercive circumstances to stop victim blaming and by holding perpetrators accountable. #consentrevolution.
Center “Partnership for Development”, feminist activist and vlogger (Republic of Moldova)
I support the Istanbul Convention because I want women to get full protection and support when they report violence. Hence, we need the Convention to be fully implemented through complete infrastructure (shelters, specialists, and 24/7 support) and school education on violence against women and girls, or equality between men and women. We need the Istanbul Convention to allow women to thrive, rather than fight to survive.
Director of the Women’s Rights Centre (Montenegro)
By making our states responsible to diligently prevent, investigate, punish and provide reparation for acts of violence against women and domestic violence, the Istanbul Convention put forward our struggle for each and every women who needs support and protection.
Pilar Álvarez Molero
Journalist and Gender correspondent for the Spanish newspaper El País (Spain)
Thanks to the Istanbul, Convention, we have recognised and fought all the forms of violence suffered by women for the mere fact of being women. I am looking forward to seeing a new decade of progress .
İdil Gülnihal Yazıcı
Member of Conversations on Consent (Turkey)
It had taken years to realise that I wasn’t the reason for being abused, insulted, or criticised, “Conversations of Consent” introduced me to the Istanbul Convention, Article 36. I had no idea about the forms of violence I had been exposed to before joining the campaign. My safety matters.
Commissioner for Gender Policy (Ukraine)
The ratification of the Istanbul Convention strengthens the legal protection of victims and improves their access to justice. It ensures that its parties establish a universal legal framework for preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence.
The Right Reverend Dr. Robert Innes
The Anglican Bishop in Europe (United Kingdom)
The Istanbul Convention is the most far-reaching legal instrument to protect women from violence – and we as Anglicans will shine a light in the dark places where women may experience such violence.
Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia, UN Wome
The Istanbul Convention is a fundamental tool in our fight to improve policies and their implementation, provide effective services for women victims of violence, and ultimately save lives.
Sokhna Fall Ba
Co-President of End FGM European Network
The Istanbul Convention is such a milestone for our work as the very first legally binding instrument recognising FGM as a European issue. We continuously use it as a tool to pressure governments towards ending FGM and supporting survivors. Having a set of common standards to harmonise national practices really makes a difference for many women and girls, whose rights should not depend on where they live. We have witnessed many improvements in recent years, for instance in France, the government adopted in 2019 the very first National Action Plan to eradicate FGM. We believe that the Istanbul Convention has played a key role in this.
Co-Chair of the Eurocentralasian Lesbian* Community (EL*C)
With its comprehensive and inclusive mandate, the Istanbul Convention protects all women, including lesbians*, against all forms of gender-based violence. It is crucial for us to advocate for its ratification throughout the Council of Europe.
Member of the European Network for the Work with Perpetrators of Domestic Violence and Chairman of the German Federal Working Group for Perpetrator Work on Domestic Violence
Since the ratification of the Istanbul Convention, our work has received increasing public support. Article 16 in particular has made the federal government, the states and the municipalities aware that working with people who use violence is an essential part of protecting victims from further violence in relationships. We were recognised by the federal government as a partner for the implementation of perpetrator work due to our standards, which we developed together with federal women's associations.
Pol de Vilallonga
Social worker at the Programme for the promotion of non-violent relationships, Government of Andorra Department of Equality Policies (Andorra)
The Istanbul Convention has changed the paradigm for the prevention of gender-based violence and the protection of victims, being an instrument that guarantees and protects women's safety.
Judge at Constitutional Court of the Republic of Azerbaijan and Member of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (Republic of Azerbaijan)
The Istanbul Convention is a major legal tool that has successfully performed its mission for years and has a great potential for the protection of women against violence.
Journalist and writer (Croatia)
The Istanbul Convention is one of the only international joint efforts to establish a legal framework for reducing violence against women. It would be ideal if such a convention was not needed . However, even when only formally adopted, it is already a step in the right direction, something that women can rely on when they need help.
Human rights campaigner and Chairwoman of Rape Victims’ Interests (Denmark)
The Istanbul Convention is important because we need equal safety and protection against violence in order to have equal opportunities in life.
Directeur du Centre Clotaire, Association Solfa (France)
La Convention d'Istanbul confirme et établit que les violences envers les femmes sont consécutives à des représentations de genre, et constituent ainsi un obstacle majeur à l'égalité entre les femmes et les hommes. Forte de ce postulat, elle est pionnière dans l'affirmation de la nécessité d'une action concertée pour poursuivre et responsabiliser les auteurs de violences.
Judge at the Chamber for Criminal Cases, Tbilisi Court of Appeals (Georgia)
The Istanbul Convention helps us to break the vicious circle of women being disproportionately the victims of various types of violence.
The Istanbul Convention is the strongest instrument that we currently have to protect the basic human rights of women and children: living a life free from violence. This will only work if we see more efforts to implement it, through legislation and legal practice, for example.
Professor at the University of Trieste and member of the Italian Academic Network against Gender-based Violence - UN.I.RE (Italy)
The Istanbul Convention represents a fundamental milestone in the prevention of violence against women, and I am keenly aware of the responsibility universities have in this process.
President of the Causeni Law Center, lawyer and Founder of the Movement "Men for Gender Equality and Against Violence" (Republic of Moldova)
During my career, I offered legal advice and protection to many women and girls facing gender-based violence. Involving boys and men in the fight against violence, the Movement "Men for Gender Equality and Against Violence" was created to fill gaps in combating stereotypes and reaching real equality. We need the Istanbul Convention to take decisive action in dealing with perpetrators and ensuring effective rights for everyone. We want to move from statements to concrete actions, from intentions and promises to practical results.
President of the Association of Roma, member of the Roma Women's Network (Serbia)
The Istanbul Convention has improved the perception of the problem of sexual violence and rape against Roma girls that occurs under the practice of child and early marriage in Roma communities. We have been able to influence the work of institutions in providing support to women and girls with experience of violence. The full implementation of the Convention still requires additional efforts to ensure that its values are turned into reality.
Vice-Rector on Scientiﬁc and Research Work of the National School of Judges (Ukraine)
The Istanbul Convention is a living tool for preventing domestic violence and protecting the victims of this terrible phenomenon.