http://www.coe.int/t/dghl/standardsetting/convention-violence/default_en.asp The Istanbul Convention will enter into force on 1 of August this year as on 23 April 2014, Denmark became the 11th member state of the Council of Europe to ratify the Convention It is the most far reaching international treaty to tackle violence against women. It breaks new ground by requesting states to criminalize the various forms of violence against women, including physical, sexual and psychological violence, stalking, sexual harassment, female genital mutilation, forced marriage, forced abortion and forced sterilization. Building on the jurisprudence of the European and Inter-American Courts of Human Rights, the Istanbul Convention integrates the ‘due diligence’ standard and defines it as the obligation of states to “prevent, investigate, punish and provide reparation for acts of violence perpetrated by non-state actors”. The Istanbul Convention is the first international treaty to contain a definition of gender as a socially constructed category that differentiates between ‘women’ and ‘men’ according to socially assigned roles, behaviours, activities and attributes. Of particular relevance in the international context, the Istanbul Convention explicitly states that it shall apply in times of peace and in situations of armed conflict.
Our Vice-President Marie José Jonczy was part of the negotiation team representing the European Women’s Lobby for the development of the Istanbul Convention. Although the Convention will enter into force this year still a lot has to be done. Civil Society and our NFA’s have an important role to play in the implementation of the Convention. That is one of the reasons UWE will propose support for the implementation of the Istanbul Convention as one of its four themes in its action plan.
It is important to combat violence against women as it is both a cause and a consequence of unequal power relations between women and men. The lower socio-economic status of women in society, patriarchal attitudes and customary practices aimed at controlling women’s sexuality help to perpetuate violence against women. Widespread impunity and significant disparities in state responses to such violence leave many women unprotected and without recourse to justice. Consequently, significant numbers of women are barred from fully enjoying their human rights, developing their full potential and leading independent lives. Violence against women is thus a major obstacle to the full advancement of women. No matter how powerful it may be as a standard,
the Istanbul Convention is not an end in itself. It is a call to action: for countries to sign and ratify the Convention, for governments to design and implement
the policies required by the Convention, for parliaments and parliamentarians to be continuously engaged in reviewing legislation and monitoring the effectiveness
of the measures taken and for local authorities and civil society to actively participate in the response to violence against women. (more info: http://www.oas.org/en/mesecvi/docs/MESECVI-CoE-CSWPub-EN.pdf and a brochure of the Council of Europe.