The Istanbul Convention is widely recognised as the most far-reaching legal instrument to prevent and combat violence against women and domestic violence as a violation of human rights. Since its opening for signature in 2011, it has garnered significant support at all levels: national, regional and local governments, the public, parliaments, other national, regional and international human rights organisations, civil society organisations, media and academia. It has been awarded national and international prizes for its vision to keep women and girls safe from violence.
The Istanbul Convention has given ratifying countries an incentive to incorporate gender-based violence into existing legislation, thus offering additional protection for women.
Questions and Answers on the Istanbul Convention
Despite the clearly stated aims of the Convention, the seriousness of the phenomenon of violence against women and its impact on victims and on society, a number of religious and ultra-conservative groups have, in recent years, been spreading false narratives about the convention, especially around the concept of “gender” included in the text. These misrepresentations must be exposed and addressed by highlighting the aims of the Istanbul Convention: eradicating violence against women and protecting women’s human rights.
The Council of Europe has released a Question and Answer booklet, looking at the actual aims of the Istanbul Convention, its added value, to whom it applies, the concept of gender and generally debunking other myths around the Convention.
Lessons and challenges from Turkey and the Western Balkans
Data gathered by the European Women’s Lobby indicates that the ratification of the Istanbul Convention has proven to be a viable framework for the implementation of new legislation, despite ongoing challenges in the region.
Commendably, the Western Balkans (Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Kosovo, FYR Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia) and Turkey now have national action plans to tackle either domestic violence or violence against women. However, there is still much to be done to fully implement the provisions of the convention.
Foremost among the necessary improvements is a regional strategy that would unify existing national action plans, and tackle regional causes of violence against women. Additionally, Turkey and the Western Balkans will need to ensure a continued and adequate supply of funds so that relevant measures can be implemented.
Read more about the findings of the European Women Lobby’s ‘Regional Forum for the Promotion and Monitoring progress of the Implementation of the Istanbul Convention in the Western Balkans and Turkey’ here.
Read the Country Reports here: