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Committee hails positive impact of the Istanbul Convention, urges states to implement it

PACE’s Equality Committee has reiterated its “firm support” for the Istanbul Convention, which it hailed as “the most advanced and comprehensive international legal instrument on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence”, and urged Council of Europe member to sign, ratify and fully implement it without further delay.

In a draft resolution approved today, based on a report by Zita Gurmai (Hungary, SOC), the committee said the Convention has had a “tangible and positive impact” since its entry into force five years ago, and was regarded by UN Women as a “gold standard” in combating violence against women.

“The Convention sets high standards and takes a comprehensive approach focusing on prevention, protection of the victims, prosecution of the perpetrators and integrated policies - by placing the rights of the victim at the centre of all actions taken,” the committee pointed out.

As well as driving higher legislative and policy standards and improving knowledge among police and legal professionals, the convention has contributed to raising awareness of domestic violence and its impact on victims, and stimulated debate on the issue, the parliamentarians said.

They also urged Council of Europe member States to combat “misconceptions and disinformation” about the Convention, which has sometimes been “misrepresented by its opponents as an attack on family values or as promoting a so-called hidden agenda”.

Meanwhile PACE should look at ways of stepping up its co-operation with GREVIO – the monitoring body overseeing implementation of the Convention – and of further mobilising parliamentarians to support it.

The Istanbul Convention has been ratified by 34 Council of Europe member States to date and signed by 11 others as well as the European Union. It is also open to non-member states.