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10 December - Human Rights Day: the Istanbul Convention saves lives. It’s time to ratify and implement it, say PACE President and General Rapporteur on Violence against Women

“Every year, on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, 25 November, many events and demonstrations are held throughout the world to support the fundamental right of women and girls to live their lives free from violence,” declared PACE President Tiny Kox today, at the end of this year’s 16 days of activism against gender-based violence.

“This year, some of these demonstrations in Council of Europe member States were forbidden, and women who gathered in public to speak up for their rights faced violent repression by law enforcement officers. No State should condone or countenance any form of gender-based violence, let alone contribute to it by attacking those who speak up peacefully for the protection of their fundamental rights,” he added.

“It is particularly disappointing that such events occurred in Istanbul, the home of the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, and in other Turkish cities, despite the Turkish authorities’ affirmation that their withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention in July 2021 would not weaken women’s protection from violence” the Assembly’s General Rapporteur on combating violence against women, Zita Gurmai (Hungary, SOC), emphasised.

“The Istanbul Convention saves lives. It keeps women safe by helping to prevent many forms of gender-based violence, and offers them a way out when it occurs. The last few Council of Europe member States that are not parties to it must ratify the convention at the earliest opportunity, and all States must do their utmost to implement in practice the standards that it sets. Women’s rights are human rights,” she concluded.