The 2011 Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combatting Violence against Women and Domestic Violence is a landmark instrument that recognises the structural nature of gender-based violence and provides a clear roadmap for States to prevent, prosecute and eliminate gender-based violence and domestic violence.
Turkey was the first signatory of the Convention and enthusiastic host of the negotiations a decade ago; the decision to withdraw weakens and undermines multilateralism and states’ accountability under international law, and signals a regression from the commitment to equality, democracy and the rule of law.
The Istanbul Convention is in alignment with other key international instruments such as the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), and remains the most holistic and progressive international instrument against gender-based violence to date.
Education trade unions all over the world call on the Turkish government to:
Reverse the decision to withdraw from the Istanbul Convention with immediate effect, and act to ensure the right to freedom from violence for all, in accordance with Turkey’s Constitution, national legal frameworks and other binding international human rights treaties to which it is party;
Reaffirm its commitment to protect and promote the human rights of women, girls, LGBTQ+ persons, minorities and all who are disproportionately impacted by gender-based violence and domestic violence.
We call on the European Commission, the European Parliament, the EU Council and all EU Member States to:
Prioritise and promote ratification of the Istanbul Convention by EU member states without delay and speed up EU accession to the Convention as promised by the Council Decision of 2017;
Prioritise and promote implementation of the Convention in countries where it is ratified and urge countries that have not yet done so to sign and ratify the Convention.
We call on EI member organisations to:
Raise awareness of the Istanbul Convention amongst their members; and
Support civil society advocacy and join progressive efforts to accelerate progress on gender equality, human rights and democracy in their countries.