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26 november 2016 – 33 % of women in the European Union are victims of violence at one point in their life and in the course of the 12 preceding months, 13 million women have experienced physical violence, 3.7 million sexual violence and 9 million have experienced stalking according to a survey of the Fundamental Rights Agency of the EU published in 2014 (1).
The majority of women who are victims of violence do not report these incidents, neither to the police nor to victim support organisations, often for fear of repercussions by the perpetrator or because of their economic dependence of the latter.
In the face of this alarming situation, the measures taken by European public authorities in order to address these serious violations of women’s rights cannot be considered sufficient.
The European Association for the Defence of Human Rights (AEDH) notes with satisfaction the importance attached by the Council of Europe to the “Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence” (Istanbul Convention). Its entry into force on the 1st of August 2014 has allowed the establishment of the monitoring committee GREVIO which is competent to verify on the spot the transposal of the provisions of the Convention into national law and practice.
To this date however, AEDH notes that only 22 of 47 member states of the Council of Europe have ratified this Convention. AEDH regrets that among these 22 ratifications, one can find only 14 member states of the European Union and that of these 14, 7 have felt the need to ratify it with reservations!
Today, 25 november, on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, AEDH calls on the European Union and its member states to make the fight against the violence against women a priority:
– All member states have to ratify the Istanbul Convention and dedicate the necessary resources to the realisation of its provisions
– The member states which have signed the Convention have to commit to the dedication of adequate human and financial means to the monitoring committee GREVIO in order to enable it to fulfil its mandate efficiently
– The European Union as well has to seize the opportunity to join the Istanbul Convention. To this end, AEDH invites the European Commission to refer the matter to the European Council so that the latter can deliberate on the issue without delay
The rights of women are human rights! As all rights, they are never permanently conquered, but we all have to defend them every day. AEDH calls on citizens and on a wider scale all people that live and act in the European Union to hold their governments accountable to their obligation to protect the rights of women and to make them commit to the realisation of these recommendations.
Dominique Guibert, President
AEDH, European Association for the Defense of Human Rights
33, rue de la Caserne. B-1000 Bruxelles
Tel: +32(0)25112100 Fax: +32(0)25113200
The European Association for the Defense of Human Rights (AEDH) brings together the leagues and associations for the protection of human rights in the countries of the European Union. For more information, visit our website http://www.aedh.eu/?lang=en .