333 NGOs from 9 states of Europe initiate amendments to the Istanbul Convention

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More than three hundred non-governmental organizations from nine member states of the Council of Europe, including Ukraine, are initiating amendments to the Istanbul Convention in order to eliminate the “gender ideology” that is preventing its ratification.

These human rights, pro-family, Christian, and other NGOs called on the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Torbjørn Jagland, the Chairman of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe Anders Samuelsen and the Executive Secretary of the Istanbul Convention, Bridget O’Loughlin, to remove the ideological and controversial definitions from the text of the Council of Europe “Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence,” known as the Istanbul Convention, reports the Institute for Religious Freedom.

The authors of the appeal draw attention to the fact that the explanation of the Executive Secretary of the Istanbul Convention is not in line with statements by other European Union officials and professional bodies. In reality the Istanbul Convention covers and contains obligations in the field of gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation, including educational measures in schools to promote "non-stereotyped gender roles."

In terms of clarifications, the provisions and obligations in the Istanbul Convention contradict Mrs. O’Loughlin’s claim that the Istanbul Convention, as a binding international treaty, does not force “gender ideology” and does not include educational obligations regarding sexual orientation. …[However] the European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, Ms. Vera Jourova, stated in response to a parliamentary question that “gender-based violence is violence that is directed against a person of that person’s gender, gender identity or gender expression.

Given the lack of clarity in the scope of the Istanbul Convention, and the contradictions caused by the non-consensual definitions used in the Istanbul Convention, 333 NGOs from 9 states of Europe recommend the following:

1. Initiate the revision of the Convention in order to replace gender and related concepts with “equality between women and men”; and

2. Enable States to provide reservations on the controversial and ideological parts of the Convention. This requires the amendment of Article 78.

“We believe that clearing away the misconceptions by amending the Convention with regards to these two points would enable Council of Europe Member States to fully focus on the implementation of mechanisms that do indeed protect women and girls from violence,” – the signatories emphasized.

It is noteworthy that on Wednesday, March 21, the Committee on European Integration of the Ukrainian Parliament has planned to reconsider draft law # 0119 on the ratification of the Istanbul Convention, on which the all Churches and many pro-family NGOs of Ukraine have repeatedly expressed their objections.

Instead, in order to effectively counteract domestic violence, the Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations urged the Parliament of Ukraine, instead of ratifying the Istanbul Convention, to facilitate the speedy implementation of the provisions of the recently adopted the Law of Ukraine # 2229-VIII “On Prevention and Combating of Domestic Violence,” dated by 07.12.2017, and the Law of Ukraine “On Enactment amendments to the Criminal and Criminal Procedural Codes of Ukraine in order to implement the provisions of the Council of Europe Convention on the Prevention of Violence against Women and Home its violence and combating these phenomena” # 2227-VIII, dated by 06.12.2017.

Institute for Religious Freedom

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