“All women and girls have the right to live free from violence. Unfortunately, this is not the reality. One in three women has experienced physical or sexual violence – 22% at the hands of their partner. More than half of all women have been sexually harassed with 20% of young women reporting online sexual harassment”, said today Dunja Mijatović, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, ahead of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.
“In addition to these data provided by the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights, the UN estimates that 70% of domestic violence fatalities are women. In 2016, the number of women victims of homicide perpetrated by intimate partners or family members and relatives according to Eurostat was 238 in Germany, 146 in France, 67 in Spain, 45 in Hungary, 18 in Croatia, 16 in Finland, and 11 in Albania, for example.
Gender-based violence against women is a human rights violation and must be combated vigorously. The Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (“Istanbul Convention”) was drawn up with exactly this purpose in mind. It is the most comprehensive and far-reaching international treaty to address violence against women laying out state obligations to prevent violence, protect victims and prosecute the perpetrators. The Convention broke new ground in requiring states to criminalise a broad range of violence against women, including physical, sexual and psychological violence, stalking, sexual harassment, female genital mutilation and forced marriage. It is very encouraging that 33 countries out of 47 member states of the Council of Europe have already ratified the Istanbul Convention.