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Wednesday, 25 November 2020 - Brussels Revised edition

Istanbul Convention and violence against women (debate)

  Sylwia Spurek, on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group. – Madam President, today, on behalf of the Greens/European Free Alliance, I would like to express solidarity with women experiencing violence. Our duty is to stand up for women.

Violence against women is a violation of fundamental human rights. It is the most drastic form of gender-based discrimination. Equality between women and men is one of the fundamental values of the European Union. We create smart cities, produce autonomous cars, we fly into space, but at the same time there are women in Europe who cannot feel safe in their own homes. They live in fear, they fear for their health and life. Many women do not report violence to the police. They are ashamed. They do not trust the state. They hear that these are family matters.

The time of COVID-19 is special. The scale of domestic violence has increased. There are still countries in the European Union that call the fight for women’s rights an ideology. They use tradition, religion and protection of family as an excuse. There are countries in the European Union that have still not ratified the Convention. We have countries that want to denounce the Convention.

A year ago, we gave the Commission a clear signal. We called on the Commission to include violence against women in the catalogue of EU-recognised crimes. A year ago, we called for the ratification of the Istanbul Convention but 12 months have passed and nothing has happened. We jointly criticised governments that ignore the European Parliament’s resolutions, but sometimes the Commission does the same thing: it ignores European Parliament resolutions.

Dear colleagues, let me remind you that the President-elect of the European Commission promised us all of this over a year ago in Strasbourg. While it turned up with nice words, how long will women in the European Union wait for equality, safety and the right to dignity? We want just one thing from Madam President Ursula von der Leyen: please keep your promises. It’s about fundamental rights. It’s about the health and life of millions of women.

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