Istanbul Convention at 10 years: leading the way to a life free from violence
To mark UN International Women’s Day, in a joint statement, the German Federal Minister for Family Affairs and the Council of Europe Secretary General highlighted the 10th anniversary of the Council of Europe’s Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, better known as the Istanbul Convention, since it was opened for signature in Istanbul in 2011. Significant progress has been achieved to stop such violence, but obstacles and challenges must be faced with determination.
The 19th Gender Equality Commission (GEC) plenary meeting took place in an online format on 14-15 April 2021. The GEC reviewed the 2020 draft annual report on the implementation of the Gender Equality Strategy, discussed completed, ongoing and planned activities under each strategic objective, including the preparation of a draft recommendation on migrant women, and a mapping study with proposals for future work on the place of men and boys in gender equality policies.The GEC-MIG Drafting Committee continued its drafting work at its 3rd meeting, examining the appendix of the draft recommendation and the amendments received by participants. Topics such as non-discrimination, intersectional issues, access to justice for migrant, refugee and asylum-seeking women and girls, detention and protection were discussed during the meeting. The 4th GEC-MIG meeting will take place on 27-28 April 2021.
▷ Prevent and combat violence against women and domestic violence
Guideline on violence against women for Armenian journalists and media professionals
Project “Path towards Armenia's ratification of the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence”
This new guideline provides recommendations and guidance on gender-based reporting, equal representation of women and men in media in a non-stereotyped, non-discriminated and non-sexist manner. Gender-based reporting gives a recognition to the actual social and professional achievements, careers, interests and roles of women and men equally.
Joint EU/CoE Action on “Raising awareness of the Istanbul Convention and other gender equality standards in Azerbaijan”
Partnership for Good Governance II (PGG II)
In January, a series of online meetings were held with Azerbaijani stakeholders to prepare a gap analysis of the Azerbaijani legislation and policies in line with the Istanbul Convention. An additional series of online focus groups were held in March with Azerbaijani stakeholders to support the development of a national campaign on combating violence against women. In parallel, a series of webinars dedicated to explaining specific articles of the Istanbul Convention were held: the first webinar was dedicated to Article 12 on general obligations.
Georgian prosecutors and investigators trained on sexual violence crimes
Project “Promoting an integrated approach to end violence against women and enhancing gender equality in Georgia
A group of 50 prosecutors and 9 investigators received their certificates for completing a specialisation training on sexual violence crimes. The three training sessions were organised jointly by the Council of Europe, the General Prosecutor’s Office and UN Women in Georgia.“Translating the provisions of the Istanbul Convention into national contexts and putting them into practice will significantly help us to provide fast, efficient and victim-oriented administration of justice”, stated Tamar Zurabishvili, Samtkhe-Javakheti district prosecutor.
*All reference to Kosovo, whether to the territory, institutions, or population, in this text shall be understood in full compliance with United Nations Security Council resolution 1244 and without prejudice to the status of Kosovo.
New Project “Combating violence against women in Ukraine”
This new Council of Europe project aims to strengthen women's human rights in Ukraine, including advocating for ratification of the Istanbul Convention. The two components of the project – awareness raising and legislative frameworks – provide a two-pronged approach in supporting Ukraine in preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, in line with the standards of the Istanbul Convention.
First meeting of the SYNERGY Network against gender-based & domestic violence in 2021
Council of Europe’s co-operation with the EEA & Norway Grants
In a gathering of governmental and non-governmental professionals dedicated to combating violence against women, the EEA/Norway Grants’ SYNERGY Network against Gender-based and Domestic Violence held its first assembly of the year on 18 March. It focused on mitigation measures for violence against women during COVID-19.
Establishing specialist support services for victims in Latvia
Online expert debate
On 23 April, the Council of Europe in co-operation with the Ministry of Welfare of the Republic of Latvia organised an on-line expert debate to present and discuss the report “Roadmap for establishing specialist support services for victims of violence against women and domestic violence in Latvia in line with the Council of Europe standards”.
Poland must adopt clear and effective procedures for women to access lawful abortion
On 11 March, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe adopted an Interim Resolution in relation to the implementation of three judgments from the European Court of Human Rights calling on Poland to adopt clear and effective procedures on steps women need to take to access lawful abortion. These procedures should ensure that no unnecessary requirements are imposed on pregnant women seeking lawful abortion by hospitals beforehand and cover abortion refusals on grounds of conscience. The authorities also should ensure that women be provided with adequate information on these procedures.
Launch of HELP course on access to justice for women in 11 countries
EEA/Norway Grants SYNERGY Network against gender-based & domestic violence
On 7 April 2021, members of the EEA/Norway Grants SYNERGY Network came together for the official launch of the Council of Europe HELP course on access to justice for women. The kick-off featured a keynote speech by Professor Sara De Vido on European standards, guiding policies and legislation on violence against women specifically concerning access to justice for women.
▷ Achieve a balanced participation of women and men in political and public decision-making
Women in top Council of Europe positions share their views on women in leadership
On the occasion of the celebration of International Women’s Day on 8 March, women in top Council of Europe’s positions shared their views on women in leadership. In short videos, Marija Pejčinović Burić, Council of Europe Secretary General, Despina Chatzivassiliou-Tsovilis, Secretary General of the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly and Marialena Tsirli, Registrar of the European Court of Human Rights, share their experience on what it means to be a woman in a leadership position, talk about the women leaders who inspired them and give advice to aspiring women leaders.
Committee of Ministers: Declaration on equal pay and opportunities for women and men
Equality between women and men is among the fundamental human rights which all Council of Europe member states have undertaken to respect. It is inscribed into the most fundamental legal instruments adopted by the Organisation, including the European Social Charter. In a declaration adopted on 17 March 2021, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe points to several resources with a view to tackling pay and opportunities inequalities in employment.
▷ Achieve gender mainstreaming in all policies and measures
Including a gender equality perspective in the work on artificial intelligence
The Gender Equality Commission is involved in the work of the Council of Europe Ad hoc Committee on Artificial Intelligence (CAHAI), in order to make sure that gender equality issues are included in current Council of Europe work on artificial intelligence (AI). Indeed, AI raises specific challenges in terms of gender equality and gender stereotypes. The use of AI systems based on historical data is likely to disseminate and reinforce existing stereotypes, thus perpetuating discrimination and sexism. In addition, the serious underrepresentation of women and girls in the information and communication technologies sector (16% in the European Union) risks perpetuating the (unconscious) bias that can be programmed by human developers into AI systems. This also raises serious issues regarding women’s exclusion from an area that is economically dynamic and powerful.
Conference “Gender equality and the Istanbul Convention: a decade of action” (11 May, Berlin)
organised by the Council of Europe in partnership with the German Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth in the framework of the German Presidency of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe
May 2021 marks the 10th anniversary of the opening for signature of the Istanbul Convention. The international recognition that the Istanbul Convention has obtained and the concrete impact that it has had on national legislation and practices, as well as - what is most important - on victims, are all causes for celebration. The morning session of the conference is expected to reaffirm the political will of states parties to fully implement the Convention. The afternoon panel will discuss the implementation of the Council of Europe Recommendation on preventing and combating sexism and the related Council of Europe campaign “Sexism: See it. Name it. Stop it!”.
The Council of Europe guideline on gender equality and violence against women for Armenian journalists and media professionals > Consult here
Roadmap for establishing specialist support services for victims of violence against women and domestic violence in Latvia in line with the Council of Europe standards > Consult here
Report on European Standards and Promising Practices related to Data Collection on Violence against Women, overview of standards and promising practices from Austria, France, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom > Consult here