1389th Meeting of the Committee of Ministers (25 November 2020)
Today, on 25 November, we mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. The EU reaffirms its commitment to ending violence against women and girls.
As stated in the Gender Equality Strategy of the Council of Europe, violence against women remains one of the most pronounced expressions of the unequal power relations between women and men. Preventing and combating violence against women and girls is a precondition to achieving gender equality as also laid out in SDG 5 and the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.
The EU and its Member states are committed to ensuring respect for the obligations to prevent and address violence against women and girls arising from international instruments. The current COVID-19 pandemic has moreover exacerbated the prevalence of violence against women and girls, including domestic violence, further highlighting the importance of combatting this global phenomenon and grave violation of human rights.
The EU is a longstanding reliable partner of the Council of Europe in the promotion of zero tolerance for violence against women and girls, including domestic violence. The Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (Istanbul Convention) defines a set of standards for preventing violence, protecting victims and ensuring accountability for perpetrators, towards a life free from violence for all women and girls. It has been ratified and is being implemented by 21 EU Member States. For the Commission, the EU’s accession to this comprehensive Convention which protects women and girls against all forms of violence is a key priority. The recommendations of the Group of Experts on Action against Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (GREVIO) have already proved valuable for many EU Member States.
We also need to tackle new forms of violence against women and girls that have increased in recent years, especially cyberviolence, including hate speech on the internet and in social media. The Istanbul Convention, the Budapest Convention and the Lanzarote Convention provide an important international framework for this work.
In the current challenging global context, it is incumbent upon Europe to maintain its lead in the promotion and protection of women’s and girls’ full enjoyment of human rights. Only when women and girls are free from all forms of violence, can they participate fully, effectively and equally in all spheres of life.
The following countries align with this statement: Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Republic of Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Republic of North Macedonia, Norway, San Marino, Serbia and Ukraine