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Entry into force of the Istanbul Convention: declaration by José Mendes Bota

1 August 2014 – Declaration on the entry into force of the Istanbul Convention, by José Mendes Bota (Portugal, EPP/CD), General Rapporteur on violence against women, Political Co-ordinator of the Parliamentary Network Women Free from Violence

Today, 1st August 2014, is a historic day for women's rights. Today, the Council of Europe Convention on the prevention and fight against violence against women and domestic violence enters into force in 11 member States. Three other countries will join them next November.

This Convention is already a golden standard at the international level. It affirms the fundamental right of women to live free from violence. It criminalises a series of acts that constitute violations of women: physical violence, sexual violence, forced marriages, genital mutilation, forced abortions, harassment.

1 August is a particularly happy day. There is a glimmer of hope for thousands of women who suffer.

It has been a long road and we have not yet completed our work. The Istanbul Convention must now be implemented. States that have not yet done so should ratify it, and in the first place the 22 members States which have already signed the Convention. Adequate resources must be allocated to the fight against violence against women. We must continue to promote this Convention, to change mindsets so that the fight against violence against women becomes everyone's business.

Today, we have achieved an important milestone, but we will not have completed our task as long as women are still living in violence.