Slovakia Rejected the Istanbul Convention for a Second TimeSociety | November 29, 2019, Friday // 11:03| views
Slovak lawmakers rejected the convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence for the second time and called on the government of the country to block the adoption of the convention by the EU.
The Istanbul Convention, adopted by the Council of Europe in 2011, entered into force in 2014 and was signed by the EU in June 2017. It is the first international instrument of its kind - states that ratify it must follow comprehensive, legally binding standards to prevent gender-based violence, protect victims and punish perpetrators.
According to a 2014 Fundamental Rights Agency survey, one in three women in the EU has experienced physical and/or sexual violence since the age of 15. 55% of women have been confronted with one or more forms of sexual harassment (11% have been subjected to cyber harassment). One in twenty have been raped.
Parliament in Slovakia first rejected the treaty in March, insisting, without proof, that it contradicted the EU's constitutional definition of marriage as a heterosexual union.
Council of Europe Secretary General Marija Pejčinović Burić called the move "a step backwards".
“Today’s decision by the Slovak Parliament rejecting the ratification of the Council of Europe’s Istanbul Convention and calling on the government to block the EU’s accession to the Convention is a regrettable step backwards. European governments should do more to end violence against women, not less.
“The Council of Europe and the European Union have made sustained efforts to dispel misconceptions and misunderstandings about the convention and I call on all responsible politicians at the national level to do the same.
“The Council of Europe stands ready to help the authorities to explain the Istanbul Convention, including through expert analysis of the convention’s provisions in the light of domestic legislation and international commitments.”, she said in a statement.