End FGM EU joins forces with other civil society organisations in defence of the Istanbul Convention

The End FGM European Network, together with a number of other European and national organisations, expresses its deepest concern for worrying trends in Turkey and Poland concerning potential withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention.

Turkish President Erdogan issued a Presidential Decision on March 20 2021, announcing his intention to withdraw Turkey from the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, the Istanbul Convention. Poland expressed its intention to withdraw from the Convention, by way of an alternative draft bill titled “Yes to family, no to gender”, or through a request to the Constitutional Tribunal to examine the constitutionality of the Convention.

The Istanbul Convention is the international benchmark and “gold standard” for legislation and policy, not only in Europe, but also much beyond around gender-based violence. The Convention is a blueprint document in the sense that it recognizes the structural nature of violence which is both a cause and a consequence of unequal

power relations between women and men. As the first legally binding international instrument on preventing and combating all forms of violence against women and girls and domestic violence, the Istanbul Convention establishes a comprehensive framework of legal and policy measures for preventing such violence, supporting victims and punishing perpetrators.

We urge EU institutions to firmly condemn these decisions from Turkey and Poland and urge them to take action to revert them. Moreover we urge the EU to ratify the Istanbul Convention without further delay, and to urge all Member States to swiftly do so as well.

Read our letter to European Institutions on Turkey and Poland's potential withdrawal from the convention.

Read our letter to the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the EU on the deteriorating situation in Poland (list of signatories)