Istanbul Convention; draft letters

Project Elimination Violence against Women,Council of Europe and EWL succesful

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2013 ended with an incredibly successful joint project of the European Women’s Lobby and the Council of Europe, as events around the project “Act against Rape! Use the Istanbul Convention” have been organized in almost all European countries (28) and gave visibility to the demands to sign the Istanbul Convention. Which as we wrote before was one of the projects our Vice President Marie José worked on for a long time; more info
Purpose of the actions is to highlight the need for improvements and discuss the taboos. The project will continue as not all European countries have been able to sign, ratify and implement this important Convention. In the Netherlands the government intends to ratify the convention mid 2014. One of the issues was the necessity to implement the Convention also in the Caribbean part of the Netherlands which needed more time to work on the necessary infrastructure.
The actions have made it clear once again that Violence against Women (VAW) is to be eliminated. Another milestone drawing attention to the Elimination of Violence against Women is the launch of the results in March of the European survey on VAW – done by the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA). The results will show a high rate of VAW in Europe and the necessity to work on the Elimination of Violence against Women.

Write to your authorities, urging to use the Istanbul Convention!

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  1. letter nfa for signing and ratification Istanbul Convention 2013
  2. letter nfa for ratification Istanbul Convention 2013
  3. letter nfa for implementation Istanbul Convention

The UWE Board would like to draw your attention to a very important theme. From 2008 onwards our Vice President Marie José Jonczy has been involved in the negotiation of the Istanbul Convention of the Council of Europe, being a member of the delegation of the board of the European Women’s Lobby to which she belongs as UWE representative.  Besides the huge number of women and girls that are subject to violence in this world, it is still a big taboo amongst both men and women that also high educated women are subject to violence against them. A large group of University Women of Europe are now working on a project coordinated by Finland and Germany which is looking into this matter and will ask for your cooperation soon .

The Istanbul Convention is not only to combat violence  but also to prevent it and provides the necessary remedies to victims. The Convention took a long time to draft and was difficult to negotiate as some delegations wished to have a convention against violence in general which would reduce the strength of the convention for women. The scope  of the first article of the convention is to combat and  prevent violence against women and a second paragraph could extend the scope to all violence.  The delegation spoke for hours to get the point across that the strength of the convention is to be found in the focus on combating and preventing violence against women and girls. It also includes no marriage exemption for rape and the implementation and development of specialist services to support women with legal assistance and free legal aid. The key to combating violence against women is not crime control. It is making sure that women and men are equal partners, have the same rights and responsibilities, the same opportunities and that their contribution to society is equally valued and respected. An important element is to make the lack of consent an constitutive element of crime. More info in different languages can be found on :

The Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence was adopted by the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers on 7 April 2011. It opened for signature on 11 May 2011 on the occasion of the 121st Session of the Committee of Ministers in Istanbul. It will enter into force following 10 ratifications. Unfortunately now in November 2013  the Istanbul Convention is only signed and ratified by six countries. Time for action!

The Council of Europe and the European Women’s Lobby have joined forces in this project to promote the Istanbul Convention as a concrete tool for change to eradicate all forms of male violence against women and specifically rape.  Under the common slogan “Act against rape! Use the Istanbul Convention!”, a series of public events will take place in 33 countries all over Europe during the 16 days of activism against violence against women between 25 November and 10 December.

We have written three possible letters: to ask for signing and ratification, to ask for ratification and to emphasize the necessity to implement the Istanbul convention. Please make sure to check the status of the signing and ratifying on the convention on

We ask you to support the European action against rape and the use of the Istanbul Convention. The draft letters which are enclosed can serve as a model to be send to your respective authorities. Please make it known to the EWL and the UWE Board that you have taken action in favor of the protection of women and support a Europe free from violence for women and girls.

UWE Vice President, Mr. Marie José Jonczy

UWE President. Drs. Edith Lommerse MMO