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World Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women in the European Parliament was marked by the ideological Istanbul Convention

Published: 29.11.2021

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· The European Parliament held a debate on violence against women and the current situation regarding ratification of the gender-based Istanbul Convention.

· In connection with the resistance of many states to the adoption of the Convention, the European Commission is to present a draft directive as a form of alternative adoption of its provisions.

· The EU is also seeking to ratify the document as an organisation, which would constitute a forcible imposition of its solutions on states.


‘MEPs and the European Commission are aware that a growing number of countries are distancing themselves from the Istanbul Convention. They see it as a document whose main objective is not to combat and prevent violence but to promote gender ideology. Moreover, this is being done at the expense of the victims of violence, who, as a result of promoting the ineffective or outdated solutions of the Istanbul Convention, are not being helped by modern legal solutions which correctly identify the sources of violence so that they can be effectively counteracted. Instead, the Union seeks to forcefully impose the Istanbul Convention on member states by trying to join it as an international organisation’, comments Anna Kubacka from the Ordo Iuris Centre for International Law.


During the debate, a lot of time was devoted to the issue of ratification of the Istanbul Convention by the European Union, which, according to the European Commission and the European Parliament, would be the culmination of the fight for equality and the fight against violence that has been guiding this term of the European Parliament. EU dignitaries are ignoring the fact that numerous states – including EU Member States – question the effectiveness and ideological wording of the Convention, and some of them, like Bulgaria, have refused to apply it on the grounds that it is unconstitutional.  Ratification of the Convention by the EU is supposed to bypass the objections of these countries.


The Union has encountered a number of procedural problems in this matter, as pointed out by the Court of Justice of the European Union. As a result, preparations have begun for an alternative form of adoption of the Convention’s provisions, as reported by EU Equality Commissioner Helena Dalli. In early 2022, the EC will present a draft directive aimed at avoiding, preventing and combatting violence against women based on the Istanbul Convention, which would be, as Helena Dalli said, the ‘gold standard’ in this area.


During the debate on violence against women and girls, many MEPs rightly stressed the need to effectively combat all forms of violence, be they psychological, physical or virtual. Both in the speech of the representative of the European Commission, Helena Dalli, and in the statements of the MEPs, there was a lack of reference to several specific forms of violence that women currently face, both within and outside of the EU. This was highlighted by Simona Baldassarre (ID), who pointed out that large-scale violence against women involves coercion, both external and economic, which leads women into prostitution or surrogacy. Jadwiga Wiśniewska (ECR) also criticised the European Commission and the European Parliament for overlooking or even pretending that such forms of violence as forcing underage girls into marriages with adult men, genital mutilation, and violence on the Internet, especially in the context of pornography, do not exist. These phenomena are by no means uncommon in EU countries today.


The representative of the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats, Pina Picierno, expressed an extremely harsh position, even by the standards of the EP debate. In her opinion, ‘women are dying, being murdered by men (...) who do it in the name of the culture of patriarchy’. These words are fully in line with the rhetoric adopted by the EP majority in October this year. At the time, the EP passed a resolution on the impact of the ‘intimate partner’ on women and children and on custody rights, calling for the abolition of the presumption of innocence against men accused of violence (even before any proof has been shown) and calling for their right to custody of their own children to be taken away.


‘Introducing such measures would be clear systemic discrimination against men solely on the basis of gender. The European Union’s efforts to promote gender equality have long ceased to correspond to women’s real expectations. Voices of women, who e.g. appeal for consideration of the problem of work-life balance or appreciation of care and educational work done at home, are ignored, while the European Commission and the European Parliament constantly fight for universal access to abortion, despite the fact that abortion is a complete denial of women’s rights and gender equality. For some time now, we have also been observing a tendency to ‘make genders equal’ through attempts to introduce systemic discrimination against men and a de facto anti-equality policy towards them’, adds Anna Kubacka.  


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