The European Parliament (EP) on Nov. 28 approved a resolution to urge EU members to ratify a convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, known as the Istanbul Convention.
Turkey was the first country to ratify the Council of Europe convention adopted in 2011 in Istanbul. As the first international instrument that sets comprehensive and legally-binding standards to prevent gender-based violence, protect victims and punish perpetrators, the Istanbul Covention characterizes violence against women as a violation of human rights and a form of discrimination.
Though the EU and its member states have signed the treaty, seven of them -- Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia, Slovakia and the U.K. -- have yet to ratify the document.
The European Parliament’s non-binding resolution, supported by 500 of 751 members, urges those countries to give the final consent for the Istanbul Convention so it can become legally-binding for their national legal systems. The EU can only ratify the treaty after the official approval of all member states.
The EP also wants violence against women to be included in the catalogue of EU-recognized crimes. The new European Commission led by President Ursula von der Leyen was asked to incorporate combating gender-based violence as a priority in the next European Gender Strategy.
One in three European women has experienced physical and/or sexual violence over the age of 15, while one in 20 has been raped, according to the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency.
Tens of thousands took to the streets in major European cities to show support with the goals of the Istanbul Convention last weekend and on Nov. 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.