We move Europe

Rise up against violence!

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Today marks the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (VAW) and the start of the 16 days of activism to end VAW. On this occasion, we join the call of European Women’s Lobby to sign the Rise Up against violence petition supported by WeMove Europe. We are urging the EU and all European countries to make Europe a safe place for all women and girls.


Why is this important?

Male violence against women and girls is a long-term systemic issue across Europe. It is the most pervasive violation of women’s human rights, rooted in our societies’ culture of sexism. It has life-long implications for women’s physical and mental health.

This is an emergency situation threatening the security and dignity of women’s lives that precedes the COVID-19 pandemic crisis. The situation has even worsened during the COVID pandemic: lockdown and isolation measures have created an enabling environment for abusers and have lead to more incidents of physical, psychological and sexual violence.

During this pandemic crisis, women victims/survivors of male violence have had less access to help and protection. They have faced further isolation which can have serious mental consequences, especially for women facing multiple forms of discrimination.

There can be no peace and security while women fear for their safety in their homes, workplaces and in public spaces across Europe.

What can we do?

Good laws can change whole societies, and the Council of Europe’s Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, known as the Istanbul Convention, is to date the most advanced legal framework to end violence against women and girls. It gives our states powerful binding tools to provide protection, prosecute perpetrators, and prevent different forms of violence that millions of women encounter every day 1.

The EU signed the Convention in 2017, but a signature is not enough – to be effective, the convention must be ratified and applied broadly. Unfortunately, for a few years now, the negotiations between the EU countries have been blocked.

Although all 27 EU Member States have signed the Istanbul Convention, six countries—Hungary, Czechia, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Latvia and Lithuania—still haven’t ratified it. Moreover, in July 2020, the Polish government announced its intention to withdraw from the Convention. This is of great concern for all women in Europe who, now more than ever, need to see strong concerted EU action against male violence against women and girls.

We urge the EU and all European countries to adopt strong legislation to tackle all forms of violence against women and girls, including sexual exploitation and online violence, and to implement the standards of the Istanbul Convention.

We call on EU decision-makers to step up their efforts, in times of crisis and beyond, to ensure no women or girl is left behind and to disrupt the full continuum of violence against women and girls.

We also call on the EU to ensure adequate funding to address the emergency situation with regards to violence against women and girls, by ensuring that the Multi annual Financial Framework (MFF) and the New Generation EU fund provide adequate resources for women civil society organisations working on ending male VAWG and supporting its victims.

This year, despite the limitations, we will join the 16 days of activism once again to say loudly and firmly that women want to live a life free from violence and from the fear of it.

Raise your voice and join the almost 190,000 signers to our petition by signing it here.


Black Protests – University Women of Europe in solidarity with women in Poland!

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polish-women-on-strikeToday, on 3rd October, women in Poland will take off work, school and home work to join the protest against a plan to take away the freedom from them to decide about their own bodies and their pregnancies. They will all be wearing black to demonstrate mourning and sadness on a national strike called: #BlackProtest #CzarnyProtest .

Women organisations across Europe in solidarity with women in Poland are reacting strongly against the decision taken by Polish lawmakers to push on with a near total-ban on abortion.

The law in Poland now allows an abortion only in one of the three dramatic cases: if the pregnancy is of life risk to the pregnant woman, if the fetus is very seriously ill or when the pregnancy is an effect of a crime (rape). Nobody forces women to perform an abortion on their bodies in any of the three cases. But the new law not only bans any abortion completely, but also defines that the human life starts with conception – the consequences of which will be a legal investigation and prison punishment for women as well as anyone possibly involved for any kind of pregnancy termination (a women who miscarried will be investigated to find out whether this was not an act of abortion), ban of in-vitro pregnancies, limitation to ban of prenatal examination (as they might lead to miscarriages or the decision of an abortion).

How can we get involved and react?

• Sign this open letter in solidarity with women in Poland and to support women grassroots movements by helping them to fundraise. This is a We move Europe initiative in partnership with the European Women’s Lobby (EWL).
• Write a letter to the Polish Embassy in your country calling for Poland’s obligation to protect human rights and asking Polish decision-makers to listen to the demands of women’s rights organisations.
• Join the social media actions posting pictures in black clothes, hashtag #czarnyprotest (black protest) so that the protest becomes even more viral. Use also the hashtag: #ODZYSKACWYBOR, to show solidarity with women in Poland.
• Share on social media the EWL and We move  Europe campaign visuals calling on several decision makers in Poland and at EU to react and ensure women’s human rights (find them at the bottom of this site).

The bill to liberalise abortion proposed by women’s rights organisations was rejected by the Polish Parliament without any further debate. Here you will find the full text in English of the proposed bill.

The bill proposed by “Save Women” was calling to allow abortion on request in the first 12 weeks of a pregnancy, increase access to contraception and sex education, and preserve existing exceptions for fetal anomalies until the 24th week, and for rape or sexual abuse until the 18th week.  In June this year, the EWL sent a letter to the Polish Government calling for Poland’s obligation to protect human rights and asking Polish decision-makers to listen to the demands of women’s rights organisations.

We’re with women in Poland,  women rights are under a huge threat, please sign the petition and show solidarity !

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