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Gender-based violence has no place in our societies!


The European Youth Forum is appalled to see Turkey, who was the very first member state to ratify the Istanbul Convention in 2012, pull out of this commitment, just a few weeks after we all celebrated its 10th anniversary.

The Istanbul Convention is not a political tool, it is about fundamental rights. It is the first legally-binding treaty that creates a comprehensive legal framework and approach to combat violence against women. It is focused on preventing domestic violence, protecting victims and prosecuting accused offenders.

The ‘shadow pandemic’ of gender-based violence in the last year, with exploding figures of domestic violence, has shown just how much work every single member state still has to do, to fully live up to the commitments made in the Convention.

Gender-based violence is one of the most widespread forms of human rights abuse that continues to play a powerful role in shaping the lives of women, girls and gender minorities. It is estimated that worldwide 1 in 3 women are subjected to physical or sexual violence during their lifetime – a number that has remained largely unchanged over the past decade. Young women and girls can be particularly vulnerable to gender-based violence, especially when age is paired with other factors such as disability, homelessness, belonging to a religious or ethnic minority, being part of the LGBTQI+ community, or having a refugee or migrant status.

Getting rid of this profound violence is a crucial, fundamental step towards making our societies more gender equal, and more inclusive. It is not just a moral obligation, it is a human rights obligation. We firmly believe that the international system to protect women against violence put in place by the Istanbul Convention must be strengthened, not weakened. The Istanbul Convention is not binding in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Moldova, Russia, Slovakia, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom as these countries have not signed and/or ratified the treaty. The lack of agreement among EU member states, also means that the European Union has not yet been able to ratify the Treaty.

To this end, the European Youth Forum not only calls on Turkey to rethink its decision, but also calls upon all Council of Europe member states to sign, ratify and implement the Istanbul Convention. As the President of the European Youth Forum, Silja Markkula, stated:

We want to see a world where people are equal, and where they are free to pursue opportunities and choices, and participate equally in our society, regardless of their gender. Gender-based violence has no place in our societies, and therefore it is of utmost importance that Member States take this matter seriously.

We encourage public authorities at all levels to show that they will stand for women and gender minorities, that they will combat systemic violence, and that they are proud to do so. On behalf of millions of young people across Europe, we call on you to take action!

GoFor logo

The European Youth Forum additionally supports the actions taken by our member GoFor (Youth Organizations Forum of Turkey).

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