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The Istanbul Convention: progress, with new challenges

Joint debate: The Istanbul Convention: progress and challenges Presentation by Ms Zita GURMAI, Hungary, SOC, Rapporteur, AS/Ega
Copyright:© Council of Europe

Today the Assembly emphasised the positive influence of the Council of Europe’s Convention on the Protection and Prevention of Violence against Women and Domestic Violence – the Istanbul Convention – on national legislation against gender-based violence and the changes it has made in policies and awareness-raising across Europe. The 37 ratifications of the Convention to date give more optimism for future progress in eliminating gender-based violence.

However, more member states should ratify the Convention as “alarmingly high levels of violence and tragic femicides persist, harming and killing women and girls in all their diversity”, the rapporteur Zita Gurmai (Hungary, SOC) underlined. Azerbaijan, in particular, has not signed the Convention, and Türkiye should reconsider its decision and rejoin the convention.

The parliamentarians also called for “deliberate misrepresentations around the ultimate objectives of the Istanbul Convention” to be dispelled as deterrents to its implementation that put women’s and girls’ lives at risk. “The Convention does not threaten families or family values, nor does it impose certain lifestyles”, they concluded.

Finally, the Assembly called on member States to promote feminist foreign policies as a means of achieving “more inclusive policy-making and multilateral action in combating gender-based violence” and of ensuring these policies are implemented throughout parliaments.

The Assembly also insisted that the 4th Summit of Heads of State and Government in Reykjavik should give priority to ending violence against women through implementing the Istanbul Convention.