151,621 of 175,000 signatures

The Council of the EU Justice Ministers

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?

Are “traditional family values” and fear of “transvestites” reasons to let women suffer domestic violence and rape? [1] For some men in power, they are. But their time is up.

Bulgaria just refused to nationally apply the powerful European convention to fight violence against women. But that’s not all. It currently leads the EU - and the Union-wide process of ratifying the convention.

Member states could vote to make Europe a safer place for all women as soon as in 2 weeks - but not if Bulgaria keeps resisting taking meaningful action - at home and at EU level. It now stands in the way of protecting 250 million women and girls: in Bulgaria, but also all across Europe.

Good laws can change whole societies, and the Istanbul convention is an excellent legal framework to end violence against women and children. It provides protection. It punishes perpetrators. It gives our states powerful binding tools to prevent and prosecute rape, beatings, exploitation and trafficking, harassment and stalking: the unacceptable everyday reality of millions of women across Europe. [2]

Last year we celebrated an important commitment: the EU signed the Istanbul convention. But a signature is not enough - to be effective, the convention must be ratified and applied broadly. And now its future is at risk.

As the country currently leading the work of the Council of the EU, Bulgaria has the most power to set the course for the entire process of EU ratification of the convention. But it looks like they’re pushing to make the EU implementation barely symbolic!

We’ve had enough! 109,000 of us have already signed our petition. With 200,000 signatures we will publicly deliver it to the Bulgarian officials. They started their EU presidency among corruption scandals and PR disasters. [3] If they see us as another threat to their image of a modern EU country, we might be able to push them to support more ambitious EU action to save their face.

No more stalling, no more excuses. Please sign the petition NOW!

References:

[1] 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/

[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] Bumpy day in Bulgaria: http://politi.co/2FmoyQu; Cloud of corruption hangs over Bulgaria as it takes up EU presidency: http://bit.ly/2pUjRqw

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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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