Europe has taken a new step forward to combat and prevent all forms of violence against women. Yesterday evening, the civil liberties and women’s rights and gender equality committees in the European Parliament gave their green light, with a large majority, to the EU ratification of the Council of Europe Istanbul Convention.

The European Parliament’s co-rapporteur, French socialist, Christine Revault d’Allonnes-Bonnefoy, said:

“The report on EU accession to the Istanbul Convention has been largely adopted and I warmly thank my colleagues for their broad support.
“EU accession will provide a coherent legal framework to combat violence against women; from prevention, to support for all victims. Time is running out considering that one third of all women in Europe have experienced physical or sexual acts of violence.
“I am proud of this report, which now includes that denial of sexual and reproductive health and rights services, including safe and legal abortion, constitutes violence against women. I will always be committed to making sure that women have the choice and the control of their bodies; without this, it is gender-based violence. I have been fighting for this for months and I am glad it has been adopted in this report.”
S&D Group spokesperson on women’s rights issues Iratxe García Pérez added:

“33% of European women have suffered some kind of violence, domestic, sexual, harassment at work, etc. A society where half of the population is at constant risk of being a victim of gender violence requires us all to take responsibility and work to eliminate this injustice.

“It is very important for the European Union to join the Istanbul Convention as soon as possible, because it is the first legally binding instrument adopted and constitutes the most far-reaching international treaty to address violence against women, as a serious violation of human rights.

“But it is also necessary to have a binding legal act of the Union to ensure that the legislative, preventive and corrective measures of the Istanbul Convention become part of the legal system of the member states; and ensure that the European Court of Justice has the power to issue judgments.”

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