187,353 of 250,000 signatures

Helena Dalli, Commissioner for Equality and To the Council of the European Union and to the European Commission

Petition

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?

Intimate partner violence, psychological violence, sexual violence and rape, female genital mutilation, sexual exploitation and trafficking, harassment and stalking, including in the digital space, are the unacceptable everyday reality of many women across Europe. In concrete figures: 62 million women in the EU has experienced physical and/or sexual violence since the age of 15. Overall, violence against women threatens the security of half of the population in the EU, affecting over 250 million women and girls.

There is something we can do together to save lives: call for concrete EU action to protect women’s and girls' right to live a life free from violence.

In June 2017, the EU signed the European convention to end violence against women, sending a very strong political message on its commitment to put an end to this human rights violation. [1] But, more than two years after this first step has been taken, the process is blocked: EU countries haven’t been able to reach an agreement on the EU accession to the Convention. And without it, the Convention can not be effective and women throughout Europe can not be protected.

The Convention [2] is a powerful binding tool to end violence against women and girls. It sets standards to give legal power, attention, and funding to efforts to stop and punish violence against women.

Good laws can change whole societies. If the Convention is applied everywhere in the EU, it would strengthen all prevention mechanisms, broaden the protection of victims of violence and provide access to justice and reparation. For the Convention to be effective, the EU and all the EU countries need to access or ratify it and ensure comprehensive implementation.

All Member States and particularly the country presiding over the Council of the European Union need to show strong leadership and commitment to ensure that the EU fulfills its promise.

After the EU elections in May 2019, more women entered in the European Parliament and Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the new European Commission stated that ending violence against women will be a top priority and that the EU’s accession to the Istanbul Convention is a must [3].

Now we have an opportunity to step up our campaigning and urging our new European leadership to lead the process towards EU action to end violence against women and the EU’s accession to the Convention.

On 25 November, we mark the International Day for the elimination of violence against women and girls. Once again, citizens all over Europe will take up the streets of many cities to say loudly and firmly that women and girls want to live a life free from violence and also the fear of it. We might hear many statements from decision makers showing good intentions; but we want concrete action.

We are urging our new European leaders to take up their responsibility in ensuring the right of women and girls to be free from violence and to be safe. We will ask them to lead progress and to have reached the decision on the EU accession to the Istanbul Convention by 25 November 2020.

Read more:

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 EU’s accession to the Istanbul Convention will send a strong political signal that violence against women is not acceptable anymore anywhere in the EU and set the basis for further EU action on this matter.

References:

[1] Commissioner Jourová signs the Istanbul Convention: http://ec.europa.eu/newsroom/just/item-detail.cfm?item_id=80397

[2] The Istanbul Convention: A vital opportunity to end violence against women: https://www.womenlobby.org/IMG/pdf/european_coalition_factsheet_final_all_logos_8_march.pdf

[3] Bulgaria backs away from treaty opposing violence against women https://www.politico.eu/article/bulgaria-istanbul-convention-backs-away-from-treaty-opposing-violence-against-women/

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The new European Commission, whose mandate will last for 5 years from now, is in its first day at work, TODAY! The Commissioner in charge of violence against women, Helena Dalli, must learn Europeans are watching - that we welcome the Commission’s commitment, and that we expect real action, that is, that the Commission puts all its energy in ensuring the Convention is ratified in 2020. Will you let Dalli know?

Post a comment on one her Facebook posts: it’ll take you less than half a minute! You can even use these templates:

  • Dear Ms Dalli, congratulations on your nomination as the Commissioner for Equality. I’m very pleased President von der Leyen has made a clear, public, point that the Istanbul Convention should be ratified by the EU. I encourage you to put all the energy possible in that direction. Europe needs to be rid of violence against women.
  • Ms Dalli, I’m very concerned about killings of women and the broader violence exerted on women taking place every day in Europe. As you start your mandate as European Commissioner for Equality, I ask you to please do everything possible to have the Istanbul Convention ratified by the EU, now. Every day counts.
  • As the new European Commission is launched this week, I’d like to take the chance to congratulate you on your new position, and to demand real action to have the Istanbul Convention ratified by the EU as soon as possible. President von der Leyen made this point in her opening statement. Now it’s time for words to become action.
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Tweet to Helena Dalli, Commissioner for Equality

The new European Commission, whose mandate will last for 5 years from now, is in its first day at work, TODAY! The Commissioner in charge of violence against women, Helena Dalli, must learn Europeans are watching - that we welcome the Commission’s commitment, and that we expect real action, that is, that the Commission puts all its energy in ensuring the Convention is ratified in 2020. Will you let Dalli know?

Send her Tweet: it’ll take you less than half a minute!

Shoes and candles laid out in memory of women killed in Europe

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Please can you chip in?

Standing up for women and girls against the unprecedented backlash against our hard-won rights and freedoms, fueled by misogyny and hatred preached by the far-right, will be a tough, long-term battle.

To be ready to defend equality, dignity and human rights, we need financial support - the kind that a group of powerful middle-aged men in suits cannot take away. We’re asking our community to chip in a few euros a week to keep us independent. Can you help us continue to fight for women’s rights in Europe?

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