Europe takes major step forward to protect women’s rights, says Secretary General Jagland. Statement by the Secretary General on the 10th ratification of the Istanbul convention

Strasbourg , 

Today, Andorra became the 10th member state to ratify the Council of Europe's Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, which means that the treaty will enter into force on 1 August for all countries that ratify it.

As the first legally binding set of standards on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence in Europe, the convention requires states parties to prevent violence, protect victims, prosecute perpetrators, and co-ordinate measures through comprehensive policies.

One of its great strengths is that it sets up an independent group of experts who will issue reports assessing to what extent states parties comply with the convention's standards.

Just three years after it was opened for signature in Istanbul – and thus has become known as the "Istanbul Convention" – 10 of our member states have embarked on the long road towards its full implementation.

I call on all remaining member states to sign and ratify our ground-breaking convention, which is generating great changes already. It provides states parties with a unique opportunity to lift the silence and taboos around all forms of violence against women. It is becoming a standard reference in and outside Europe as the most comprehensive catalogue of measures in this field. 

And I am hopeful that under the watchful eyes of civil society and national parliaments, states parties will do their utmost to improve the lives of the many women and girls who are sadly subjected to violence, simply because of their gender. And to make sure that they enjoy the most basic of human rights: the right to live free from fear and free from violence.