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EPF calls on parliaments to support key VAW Convention

Brussels, 5 March 2014

On the day the European Union Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) published the results from the world’s biggest-ever survey on violence against women, the European Parliamentary Forum on Population and Development (EPF) has written to 36 parliaments across Europe urging them to support the signature and ratification of the Council of Europe’s (CoE) Istanbul Convention.

The Convention on Prevention and Combatting Violence against Women, known as the Istanbul Convention, is a landmark agreement and the best tool we have in tackling violence perpetrated against women and girls. It is the first European legal instrument to make clear that violence against women and domestic violence can no longer be considered as private matters. The Convention puts an obligation on the state to prevent violence, protect victims and punish the perpetrators.

Disturbing statistics published by FRA today clearly demonstrate that such a tool is urgently needed. The FRA survey shows that physical, sexual and psychological violence against women is widespread in all EU Member States. Ratification of the Istanbul Convention is one of the main recommendations of the authors of the FRA report.

However, the Convention has not yet entered into force – for this to happen 10 states need to ratify it, including eight member states of the Council of Europe. In an effort to accelerate this process, EPF has written to presidents of parliaments and chairs of relevant committees across Europe requesting them to urge their governments to sign and ratify the Convention. The letter is signed by EPF President Baroness Jenny Tonge and EPF Vice- Presidents Hon. Petra Bayr, MP and Hon. Öznur Çalik, MP.

April 2014
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