Special Rapporteur calls for action against domestic violence in the EU

UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, Rashida Manjoo, is visiting Brussels to meet with various EU interlocutors and Women’s Rights Organizations. Together with José Mendes Bota, Chairperson of the Equal Opportunities Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, and with Members of the European Parliament including Eva-Britt Svensson, Chairperson of the Gender Equality and Women’s Rights Committee, Ms Manjoo called on 15 June for the signing and prompt ratification of the new Council of Europe convention on violence against women and domestic violence by EU Member States.

Ms Manjoo stated at the European Parliament: “Violence against women remains the most pervasive human rights violation that exists. This Convention represents the most comprehensive response at the European regional level, paving the way for the protection of, assistance to, and justice for victims of violence against women. It deserves the full support of the European Union and all its member states.

“The Convention should inform ongoing efforts to develop EU legislation to protect women victims of violence, in particular domestic violence, such as the directive on the protection of the rights of victims of crime. Sexual violence is just one aspect of domestic violence. The numerous manifestations of domestic violence should be effectively addressed and combated with the same intensity, and the victims equally protected.”

José Mendes Bota said: “Violence against women is a human rights violation born out of unequal power relations between women and men. This convention is a crucial landmark on the way towards ensuring equal enjoyment of human rights and I urge all those European countries which have not yet done so to become parties to it, so that its great potential can be fully exploited.”

 "The fight against gender-based violence is one of my personal strong commitments and it's also a question of huge importance in the Women's Rights Committee. We see various kinds of gender-based violence all over the world, and we cannot build a gender-equal society if women are afraid of violence. Gender-based violence in any life setting, or even the fear of it, can restrict or blight the life of any woman", stated Ms. Eva-Britt Svensson.

The Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence was opened for signature last month. Of the 27 EU member states, it has so far been signed by 10 (Austria, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Luxembourg, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden). It is the most comprehensive legally binding international treaty in this area to date and commits governments to creating a zero tolerance zone through: prevention, protection of victims and prosecution of offenders.

15 June 2011

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