Today the European Parliament endorsed the accession of the European Union to the Istanbul Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence. The Convention is the most far-reaching international treaty and the first legally binding instrument to fight violence against women and commits signatories to implement measures to protect victims, persecute perpetrators and prevent these crimes. Under the leadership of the Socialists and Democrats Group in the European Parliament, the text adopted today included a strong affirmation of the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and girls, including access to safe and legal abortions.

The European Parliament’s co-rapporteur, S&D MEP Christine Revault d’Allonnes-Bonnefoy, said:

“One in three women have suffered physical, psychological or sexual violence in Europe. In France every three days, a woman is killed by her partner. We cannot tolerate this anymore; gender-based violence must end, once and for all. The EU’s signature of the Istanbul Convention is a major step forward since it will provide a coherent legal framework, but the battle is not yet won. We call on the Commission to put forward a binding legal act to ensure that the member states implement the Istanbul Convention with its commitment to protection, persecution and prevention.

“The Socialists and Democrats fought hard to anchor a strong affirmation of the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and girls in the text voted today, including the access to safe and legal abortions. I will always be committed to making sure that women have the choice and control of their bodies.”

S&D Group spokeswoman for women’s rights and gender equality, MEP Iratxe García Pérez, added:

“Beaten, raped, harassed, and even killed for no other reason than being women, millions of women across Europe suffer in silence every day. The Istanbul Convention, as the first legally binding international treaty, is a powerful tool to prevent and combat all forms of violence against women. We therefore welcome the EU’s signature of the Istanbul Convention and urge the 14 EU countries which have not yet ratified the Istanbul Convention to do so quickly.  As Socialists and Democrats, we want all women to be protected against all forms of violence and discrimination.

“Yet, more must be done to protect minors whose mothers have been victims of gender-based violence. A binding legal act of the Union is urgently needed to make sure that the legislative, preventive and corrective measures of the Istanbul Convention become part of the legal system of the member states and the European Court of Justice will have the power to issue judgments.”

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MEPs involved


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