The Istanbul Convention Saves Lives

Council of Europe member states should reinforce efforts to combat violence against women by swiftly ratifying and carrying out a landmark regional convention on women’s rights. Governments should take urgent steps to counter misinformation about the convention and to fight dangerous myths and discriminatory stereotypes that undermine work to curb violence against women.

Transcript

Eren Keskin
Human Rights Association, Turkey

I'm sure every woman had a sense of victory when that convention was signed. The Istanbul Convention opened for signatures in Istanbul on May 11, 2011 because the Council of Europe ministerial meeting was held there on that day.

Urszula Nowakowska
Women’s Rights Center, Poland

It is the first comprehensive document of this kind under international law. 

Noa Nogradi
NANE Association, Hungary

On the one hand, it frames very clearly and unequivocally any domestic and sexual violence and other forms of violence against women as gender-based violence. In addition, the Istanbul Convention makes very tangible proposals on how to deal with these forms of violence and it doesn’t just cover their punishment and the legal environment, but also the related services, protection and prevention.
To date, 33 countries have ratified the convention, but this does not necessarily mean that it will always be so. We are now seeing a trend that shows that even those States that have joined, might withdraw from the Convention over time. 

Eren Keskin
Human Rights Association, Turkey

Unfortunately, the Republic of Turkey announced its withdrawal from the Convention with a signature from the President.

Urszula Nowakowska
Women’s Rights Center, Poland

I think that Turkey's withdrawal from the Convention will be a point of reference for those countries that think similarly or will want to take similar steps. 

Noa Nogradi
NANE Association, Hungary

The current government said quite clearly that as long as they are in power, this convention will not be ratified in Hungary. 

Marta Chumalo
Women’s Perspectives, Ukraine

We [in Ukraine] quite often hear the argument that we do not need to ratify the Istanbul Convention because we have good national legislation. But I can say our national legislation is still far from perfect. 

Eren Keskin
Human Rights Association, Turkey

Violence against women increased drastically during the pandemic because, unfortunately, the place where women faced the most intense violence was their home.

Urszula Nowakowska
Women’s Rights Center, Poland

Our system of institutional assistance such as police or prosecutor's office is so hostile that many women don't report violence to these institutions. 

Marta Chumalo
Women’s Perspectives, Ukraine

When we ratify the Istanbul Convention, we are putting the needs of the victim first. This is all so important, because many of the women who have gotten help from our organization,will have a better chance at a safe life. 

Urszula Nowakowska
Women’s Rights Center, Poland

If [Poland] denounces the Convention on preventing violence against women and domestic violence, it would be a signal that this is not an important issue for us. I think we need to demonstrate, write to MPs, show up, educate the public and this is what we try to do as NGOs, too. 

Eren Keskin
Human Rights Association, Turkey

To me, the only solution is to be vocal. Everyone has to raise their voice against violence against women wherever they are. 

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