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Committee assesses positive impact of Istanbul Convention and challenges to face

The Equality Committee, meeting in Paris, today welcomed the influence of the Istanbul Convention on national legislation to fight gender-based violence and the changes it has inspired in policies and awareness-raising actions. It also welcomed the high number of ratifications – 37 to date, with 8 signatures not yet followed by ratification.

However, despite these achievements, the report by Zita Gurmai (Hungary, SOC) adopted by the committee emphasised that “alarmingly high levels of violence and tragic femicides persist”, recalling that gender-based violence increased during the Covid-19 pandemic due to lockdowns, complicating women and girls’ access to protection and assistance.

In this context, the committee called on States that have not yet done so to ratify the Istanbul Convention without further delay. States Parties to the convention should implement fully its provisions “in order to ensure solid laws and policies relating to prevention, protection and prosecution”, by regularly assessing national legislation and proposing revisions of laws where they are not in line with the convention, the adopted text said.

The committee also stressed the need to dispel deliberate misrepresentations around the convention's objectives, adding that these were part of broader negative tendencies in today's societies carried by anti-rights movements. “The Istanbul Convention does not threaten the nuclear family or family values, nor does it impose certain lifestyles,” the parliamentarians said.

Finally, according to the committee, the 4th Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Council of Europe member States in May 2023 should give priority in its Action Plan to combating violence against women and domestic violence.