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Violence against women in Europe

Resolution 1963 (2013)

Parliamentary Assembly
Text adopted by the Standing Committee, acting on behalf of the Assembly, on 22 November 2013 (see Doc. 13349, report of the Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination, rapporteur: Mr Mendes Bota). See also Recommendation 2030 (2013).
1. Violence against women affects one in four women in Europe. It is a widespread human rights violation as well as a major health problem. Regrettably, it is so embedded in society that most people fail to understand its extent, gravity and nature.
2. In March 2013, the 57th session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW57), entirely devoted to violence against women and girls, represented a turning point in the fight against this scourge: it gave visibility to the issue, resulting in the adoption of strong conclusions, and encouraged States all over the world to take stronger measures, also in the context of the “Say No - Unite to end violence against women and girls” initiative to end violence against women, launched by the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
3. Thanks to the efforts of the Council of Europe and France, the CSW57 was also an opportunity to make the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (CETS No. 210, “Istanbul Convention”) better known at global level. This convention has been rightly referred to as a “gold standard” because it is the most comprehensive international instrument specifically dealing with violence against women.
4. The Parliamentary Assembly welcomes the positive response given by 25 Council of Europe member States to the “Say No - Unite to end violence against women and girls” initiative. It acknowledges that most member States are strengthening their legal and policy framework to tackle violence against women and hopes that, despite budgetary constraints due to the economic crisis, they will continue to consider this matter as a priority by allocating adequate resources to it.
5. The Assembly also welcomes the increasing support for the Istanbul Convention, which to date has been signed by 32 member States. Among them, Albania, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Italy, Montenegro, Portugal, Serbia and Turkey have already deposited the ratification instruments; Andorra, France and Spain are currently examining ratification.
6. In the light of this positive momentum, the Assembly believes that no effort should be spared to achieve the 10 ratifications that are necessary for the entry into force of the Istanbul Convention by the end of 2013. In this context, it recalls the crucial role played by parliamentarians, especially through the Parliamentary Network “Women Free from Violence”, in promoting the signature of the Istanbul Convention and ensuring a rapid and efficient ratification process.
7. The Assembly therefore calls on Council of Europe member States to:
7.1 sign and/or ratify the Istanbul Convention without any further delay, if they have not yet done so;
7.2 refrain from making declarations and reservations to the Istanbul Convention or, in any case, not to renew them;
7.3 adhere to the “Say No - Unite to end violence against women and girls” initiative and implement their commitments within the promised deadlines.
8. In so far as its work is concerned, the Assembly should:
8.1 continue to promote the signature and ratification of the Istanbul Convention through activities targeting primarily parliamentarians;
8.2 step up activities aimed at raising awareness about violence against women among the general public, also in co-operation with the media sector;
8.3 organise activities to enhance the capacity of national parliaments to monitor the implementation of the Istanbul Convention at national level, once it enters into force;
8.4 expand the outreach capacity of the Parliamentary Network Women Free from Violence by creating a status of “Network friend”, which the parliamentary network will be able to award to members of the European Parliament and other members of parliament;
8.5 encourage its members to set up, in their national parliaments, informal groups or caucuses to end violence against women.