Poland’s planned withdrawal from Istanbul Convention criticised by leading MEPs 

Press Releases 
  • The Convention on preventing and combating violence against women, also known as the Istanbul Convention, was adopted by the Council of Europe in 2011 
  • One in three women in the EU has experienced physical and/or sexual violence since the age of 15 
  • Cases of domestic violence rose by a third in some EU countries following lockdown  

Women’s Rights Committee Chair, Evelyn Regner, and Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Chair, Juan Fernando López Aguilar, urge Poland to renounce withdrawing from Istanbul Convention.

Polish government officials have recently announced that Poland would take steps to withdraw from the Istanbul Convention. Reacting to this situation, both Chairs declared:

“We strongly condemn attempts to revoke measures already taken in implementing the Istanbul Convention and in combating violence against women. The Istanbul Convention remains the golden international standard and a key tool to eradicate the scourge of gender-based violence. It follows a holistic, comprehensive and coordinated approach and places the rights of victims at the centre”.

Go to the page of source

“Withdrawing from the Istanbul Convention would invalidate the progress made in the protection of women against violence.”

Committee Chairs Evelyn Regner and Juan Fernando López Aguilar 

“These times are especially dangerous for women. We must not lessen, but rather expand our actions to stop violence against women, which is one of the biggest and most widespread violations against human rights. Withdrawing from the Istanbul Convention would invalidate the progress made in the protection of women against violence. We take the opportunity to call on all Member States that have signed but not ratified the Convention to do so without delay”.


  • The Istanbul Convention entered into force in 2014 and was signed by the EU in June 2017. So far, twenty-one Member States have ratified it.
  • It is the first international instrument that obliges states that ratify it to follow comprehensive, legally binding standards to prevent gender-based violence, protect victims and punish perpetrators.
  • On 28 November 2019, Parliament adopted a resolution on the EU’s accession to the Istanbul Convention and other measures to combat gender-based violence (2019/2855(RSP)).