The UK must speed up efforts to ratify an international human rights treaty agreeing to step up action to prevent violence against women and guarantee future funding for organisations providing support to victims and survivors of abuse, a London MEP said this week.
Although the Council of Europe adopted the International Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence in 2011 (1) , it has yet to come into force as only one nation has ratified the treaty – Turkey.
“This is absolutely shameful,” said Jean Lambert, London’s Green Party MEP.
“Violence against women is a major obstacle to gender equality and is one of the most widespread human rights violations.
“One in five of all women are thought to suffer domestic violence at some point, and seven women die each day from domestic violence somewhere in the EU.” (2)
She urged all EU countries – including the UK – to urgently ratify the convention, which the UK signed earlier this year, and for the Government to work more closely with women’s groups and local authorities to try and reduce levels of violence.
She added: “But the sad truth is that the Government is doing exactly the opposite. Organisations providing support for victims of domestic violence are seeing funding reductions – and the Government is yet to ratify Europe’s only agreement on the subject.”
Ms Lambert made her comments as the UN prepares to mark International Day of Elimination of Violence Against Women, (3) and the UK prepares to mark ‘White Ribbon Day’, (1) when men are asked to pledge never to commit any act of abuse or violence against a woman.
She has also signed a Written Declaration – the European Parliament’s equivalent of an EarlyDay Motion in the House of Commons – calling for all EU countries to ratify the treaty.
Ms Lambert also called on the Government – and all EU states – to act to ensure more women get top jobs in both domestic and EU politics.
Signing the ‘50/50 Declaration’ along with more than 50 Euro-MPs from five political groups and from all over the EU, which calls for the UK to nominate one woman and one man when it selects candidates for the European Commission in 2014.
She added: “It is no longer acceptable for more than half the European population to be continually excluded from decision-making on issues that affect their daily lives.
“This declaration aims to put pressure on EU governments, political parties and institutions to ensure this unacceptable situation is finally redressed.”