EU Council approves EU accession to the Istanbul Convention

Today, 01 June 2023, the Council of the European Union approved the EU accession to the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, Istanbul Convention.  

With this crucial step of acceding to the most advanced legal framework so far for the prevention and combating of violence against women and girls, the European Union is actively affirming its commitment to defend women’s human rights and ensure women’s right to live free from violence. 

The Istanbul Convention remains the most comprehensive legal framework to date to combat violence against women, focusing on preventing violence, protecting victims, prosecuting the accused offenders, and promoting coordinated policies. Crucially, it also highlights the pivotal role that Women Specialist Services and feminist civil society play in combating this form of violence and supporting victims/survivors. 

The EU accession to the Istanbul Convention emphasises the strong political will needed to counter the continuously increasing global pushback against women’s human rights and gender equality as well as the rise in the human rights violation that violence against women is. It also sets a common regulatory framework for Member States to up their efforts in preventing and combatting VAWG in Europe. 

A Europe that maintains and reinforces gender inequalities is not a Europe that guarantees the human rights of all people. Therefore, the Women Against Violence Europe (WAVE) Network welcomes this promising development which reaffirms the importance, commitment, and obligation to ensure that women and girls are adequately protected from violence across Europe, and that Women Specialist Services are adequately resourced and widely available. 

This achievement cannot be celebrated without highlighting the role and involvement of civil society and feminist organisations including longstanding and founding members of WAVE who were involved in the process of developing the Istanbul Convention, and all current members and staff who continuously advocated for the ratification and implementation of the convention.

The press release of the EU Council on the EU accession to the Istanbul Convention is available HERE