Press release - DC090(2014)

Convention to protect women against all forms of violence enters into force

Strasbourg, 31.07.2014 - Europe is taking a leading role to protect women’s rights around the world, as the Council of Europe’s Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence enters into force tomorrow.

Known also as the “Istanbul Convention” because it was opened for signature there three years ago, the convention obliges governments that have ratified it to take specific steps to counter all forms of violence against women: from stalking and sexual harassment to domestic violence, forced marriage and female genital mutilation.

“All need to act now to improve the lives of the many women and girls who are subjected to violence, simply because of their gender,” says Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland in a video message, urging remaining member states to sign and to ratify the convention.

“One of the great strengths of the convention – open to all countries - is that it creates an independent group of experts who will report on how governments comply with its standards”, says the Secretary General.

According to a recent analysis of legislation and practice in combating violence against women by Council of Europe member states, governments have adopted promising initiatives and measures that reflect convention guidelines. But the analysis, published by the Council of Europe’s Gender Equality Commission, also points out gaps and shortcomings.

By offering a comprehensive framework that is legally binding, the convention will boost measures of prevention and protection and should lead to an increase in investigations, prosecutions and convictions of perpetrators of violence.

NGOs, governments and civil society will celebrate its entry into force on 19 September in Rome at an international conference being organised by the Council of Europe and the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Italian Chamber of Deputies.

Link to the video on the Convention

Contact: Panos Kakaviatos, Press officer/Spokesperson, tel +33 3 90 21 50 27, @PanosCOE

Council of Europe Directorate of Communications
Tel: +33 (0)3 88 41 25 60
Fax:+33 (0)3 88 41 39 11