The Council of the EU Justice Ministers
Make Europe a safe place for all women and girls! We are calling on you to urgently ratify and implement broadly the Council of Europe convention to fight violence against women. Women and girls across Europe want to live a life free from violence and fear. Act now to make sure that the European Union takes concrete action to protect all women and girls from violence and actively fights this pervasive human rights violation.
Why is this important?
Just a few months ago women all over Europe raised a collective “hurrah!” of celebration. The EU will finally sign the European Convention to fight violence against women - the most powerful binding tool to fight violence done to women, because they are women. Solidarity and justice prevailed - and our campaign helped pressure our leaders to make that happen!
But this is no time to rest on our laurels, because the commitment to sign the convention is only the first step. The real struggle over what kind of protection it will grant to women will happen now, in the nitty-gritty of negotiations on how to apply the law in the EU.
When applied everywhere in the EU, the convention could strengthen and broaden the protection of victims of violence. It could give legal power, attention, and funding to efforts to stop and punish rape, beatings, exploitation and trafficking, harassment and stalking: the unacceptable everyday reality of millions of women across Europe. “Traditional family values” would no longer be an excuse not to fight domestic violence.
But for that to happen, it’s not enough to sign the convention - it’s all about implementation and enforcement, and we need strong political commitments to make the protection of women reality.
The country leading the Council of the EU - the presidency - has a huge positive role to play, as the stewards of the negotiation process. Estonia takes over the presidency this month and we need to make sure they follow our demands for swift and broad action.
The new presidency will be leading the process of negotiating the agreement on who and how will apply the provision of the Convention. They have not yet made any promises on whether they will make the fight with violence their priority, or let the process stall. We need their commitment and leadership - and they need to know that we are not giving up and will keep watching.
Next week we will march on the streets of Brussels - and hand over our petition with every signature we collect by Monday to the new Estonian presidency during a big public event in Brussels. What we want is their public commitment to make the implementation of the convention their top priority during the time they lead the EU, as they have the power to direct the whole Council on this. If 100,000 of us sign our demand, we will be able to impress upon them the importance of this topic to Europeans across the continent as they set their agenda for the next 6 months. For that, we need your support. Join our community’s fight for a Europe free from violence, and add your signature!
The Istanbul Convention is the common name for the Council of Europe 2011 Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and girls and domestic violence. It’s the first legally binding treaty in Europe which criminalises different forms of violence against women, sets a comprehensive set of standards to prevent violence and to guarantee the right to every woman to live free from violence. The application by the EU of the Istanbul Convention will send a strong political signal that violence against women is not acceptable anymore, anywhere in the EU.
The European Commission has declared 2017 the European Year of focused action to combat violence against women and girls. Now, we need to make sure the European public holds the EU accountable for walking the talk, and that the outcome of this year will be a concrete action to improve the life of millions of women and girls in the EU.
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Have your say - send a message to the Estonian presidency of the Council of the EU!
The EU will finally sign and ratify the Istanbul Convention!
But the devil is always in the detail - the real struggle over what kind of protection the convention will grant to women will happen now, in the nitty-gritty of negotiations on which actions the EU will take and how far it will go to protect women and girls.
The country leading the Council of the EU - the presidency - has a huge positive role to play here. As stewards of the negotiation process they will set the agenda for the ratification of the convention. Estonia takes over the presidency this month and we need their public commitment to make the promise of a Europe safe for all women and girls into reality. That’s why we’re addressing our demands to them.
How to send a message to the Estonian presidency?
- It’s very simple and it will only take a couple of minutes.
- You can send the email in any of EU’s official languages.
- Please click the button below - it will open a new email window in your email client, with the email addresses of the presidency and the Estonian permanent representation to the EU - the main contact point in Brussels - already filled in.
- Please add a subject line (e.g. reference the EU accession to the Istanbul Convention, the 2017 year of action on gender violence, or a call for an end to violence against women in the EU)
- Please write the message to the presidency. Personalised messages on ending violence against women in the EU have real value, but you can also use the below points for guidance.
What can I write in the email?
- Tell them that you are contacting them about the ratification of the European Convention to fight violence against women (the Istanbul Convention),
- Call their attention to our petition (https://wemove.eu/istanbul-convention) with over 64,000 signatures demanding that the EU ratifies and implements broadly the Istanbul Convention,
- Express your concern that the potential for a real, strong EU action to fight the prevalent human right abuse that is violence against women might be lost if the scope of EU implementation is too narrow,
- Let them know that today, there is no one equal standard of protecting women from male violence in EU member states, and that’s why a coordinated EU action is so important
- Call for their strong political commitment to broad action at EU level, including among others the issues of cooperation of courts, victim’s rights, crime prevention, mutual recognition, minimum rules in the definition of crimes and a strong EU coordinator,
- Ask what is the presidency’s position for the upcoming negotiations on the scope of EU ratification and application of the convention,
- If you can, add why the fight against violence against women is important to you personally, and how EU action could improve the lives of women in your country.
Thank you for standing for women's rights with us. It is only together that we can truly be a force to be reckoned with.