S&D Euro MPs today secured a strong majority for a resolution calling on the EU to ratify the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combatting violence against women, otherwise known as ‘The Istanbul Convention’.
The resolution also calls on the EU to step up its actions on combatting violence against women through the adoption of an EU law. The aim would be to strengthen the European response in addition to classifying violence against women as a particularly serious crime within the EU treaties.
S&D Group spokeswoman on women's rights and gender equality, Marie Arena MEP, said:
“Today we have sent a strong and clear message to the Council and the Commission: Half-hearted delivery is no longer acceptable. A third of all women in Europe have suffered physical or sexual violence; EU action is long overdue!
“Eradicating violence against women has always been an S&D priority and we are happy that this resolution received such broad support. The ratification of the Istanbul Convention would be a step in the right direction. Women have the right to feel safe and protected, no matter where in the EU they are living.”
S&D Group negotiator on the resolution, Christine Revault d'Allonnes-Bonnefoy MEP, added:
“It is an outrage that only half of EU member states have ratified the Istanbul Convention. Violence against women and girls is a terrible scourge that is ravaging Europe and the entire world. The EU must act urgently!
“Ratifying the Istanbul Convention is crucial, but not enough. That is why we fought so hard to also get the resolution to include a call for a European Directive combatting and preventing violence against women and girls. In a situation where only a third of female victims of violence choose to go to the police, and where most of the perpetrators of violence against women do not get prosecuted, we want there to be no doubt that the EU and European nations stand up for women’s rights.”
S&D chair of the Parliament's women's rights and gender equality committee; Iratxe García Pérez MEP, stressed:
“A society, where half the population, women, are at constant risk of being victims of gender-based violence, demands that everyone take responsibility and work to eliminate this injustice.
“Unfortunately, there is no homogenous statistical data for the whole of Europe, but according to a survey carried out by the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights, 33% of European women have been victims of some kind of violence.
“It is urgent that we have European directive against gender-based violence. We are talking about lives cut short, broken families and futures condemned to pain. What more has to happen for the EU to act?”
Note to the editor
The Istanbul Convention on preventing and combating violence against women is the first legally binding instrument in Europe on violence against women. In terms of scope it is the most far reaching international treaty to tackle violence against women as a serious violation of human rights.
Three years after its opening for signatures in 2011, the Istanbul Convention was entered into force on 1 August 2014. Today, all EU member states have signed the convention, but only 14 have ratified it (AT, BE, DK, FI, FR, IT, MT, NL, PL, PT, RO, SL, ES, SE).
In October 2015, DG Justice has looked into the possibility of the EU signing/ratifying the Convention and issued a roadmap for a possible EU accession, followed in March 2016 by a proposal for a Council decision to sign the convention on behalf of the EU.
Please find here a broadcast quality video statement from S&D Group spokeswoman on women's rights and gender equality Marie Arena MEP and S&D Group negotiator on the resolution Christine Revault d'Allonnes-Bonnefoy MEP.