Istanbul Convention

EU Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women, also known as the Istanbul Convention (further on IC), was written in 2011 and in 2014 it was already accepted by most European countries, but not all. Since Turkey withdrew from the IC, and some other countries announced their intention to do the same, the feminist and domestic violence (DV) lobby started to push for the IC to be accepted on the EU level as a Directive, that would be later mandatory to implement in EU countries’ legislations. They succeeded to pass the first step, and the IC was accepted by the EU Committee of Human Rights. The next step is EU Parliament, where the debate on the interim report was held on February, 14. Before the debate, all interested were called for input.

At the same time, the IC started to spread around the world, including the UN. While accepting and ratifying in European countries went pretty smoothly, mostly hidden from public eyes, this attempt didn’t pass unnoticed. Several organizations, mostly from the USA, read the IC carefully and started to oppose it, as it’s spreading around the world. They gathered in the Coalition to End Domestic Violence, and under this umbrella organization, opened a Domestic Abuse and Violence International Alliance (DAVIA), see, to which we decided the PEF to join. With the support of DAVIA, we started to cooperate internationally in a newly opened Istanbul Convention Task Force (ICTF).

Now we came to our input to the EU Parliament. ICTF wrote a letter of concern on behalf of DAVIA to all leading political groups in the EU Parliament, and some of us wrote similar letters to our countries’ MEPs. Here is DAVIA’s letter:

We are afraid that the IC is in contradiction with the human rights of all humans, that it is gender-biased, and is against the basic principles of EU postulates. Looks like we are in George Orwell’s Animal Farm, where all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others. Further on, we are afraid that the IC is actually against families, and so against a normal society where both genders are equal and complement each other instead of fighting each other. That is polarization, generated by the IC, and though we agree we need to address violence over women and girls, we need to address violence over men and boys at the same time and level. The road to hell is paved with good intentions, and we believe that the IC is no exception to that proverb. To stop the IC and its spreading around the world, with all its faults and flaws, we need your help. We all must stand against the IC.

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