11 May 2021

Council of Europe Istanbul Convention: 10th Anniversary


Today, the Council of Europe marks the 10th Anniversary of the Istanbul Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence. 

In November 2020, the Diocese joined then campaigning efforts to bolster the Istanbul Convention with a video by Bishop Robert and a 16-day social media campaign featuring the four pillars of the Convention: Prevention, Protection, Prosecution, and Co-ordinated Policies, as a contribution by European Anglicans to the Gender Justice work of the Anglican Communion.

For today’s anniversary, we have released this short video recalling our support to the Council of Europe effort.

In March, Bishop Robert joined international reaction following Turkey’s announced decision to withdraw from the Convention and he has had exchanges on this with the both the Council of Europe and the EU External Action Service.  

The Council of Europe has launched a dedicated website for this 10th Anniversary of the Istanbul Convention. It looks back at the past decade of achievement, including the work of GREVIO, the independent Group of Experts responsible for monitoring implementation of the Convention by the Member States of the Council of Europe.  

Their website also covers campaigning work by civil society organisations, featuring the effort of European Anglicans.  There is also an online conference today co-hosted by the Council of Europe and current Council of Europe Presidency (Germany). 

In a series of testimonies, including a contribution from Bishop Robert, the Council of Europe states:

“The different provisions of the Istanbul Convention are inspiring action and are driving change in responding to the different forms of violence against women and domestic violence. They bring hope and a greater feeling of safety to millions of women and girls. Addressing a societal issue such as violence against women means bringing it into the open. It helps victims speak out, enables professionals to respond appropriately, and instils a sense of trust and hope in women and girls. In short, the Istanbul Convention saves lives.”

We join in continuing efforts to urge ratification of the Istanbul Convention by all member states of the Council of Europe, including the UK.  In the House of Lords, our Bishops have supported the ratification by the UK of the Convention.  The Bishop of Gloucester, The Rt Revd Rachel Treweek and her fellow bishops in the House of Lords have been closely engaged in scrutinizing UK Domestic Abuse legislation, notably on the plight of migrant women who are victims of abuse.

The UK campaign for ratification has been joined by a range of organisations, including IC Change, who are campaigning with a petition for UK-based residents to sign.  Following the final passage of the Domestic Abuse Act at the end of April, we now await the next steps of the UK Government regarding commitment to ratify the Istanbul Convention.

In the Diocese in Europe, we will continue our advocacy and campaigning efforts on the Istanbul Convention wherever we can raise its profile through our close engagement with the strategies and priorities of the The Council of Europe and EU and our bishops in the UK Parliament.