Dear Taoiseach Martin,
Re: Turkeys Withdrawal from the Council of Europe Convention Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence
The Irish Observatory on Violence Against Women and Girls condemns the decision of the President of Turkey to pull his country out of the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence (Istanbul Convention) and considers it a devastating signal to women and girls in Turkey and across the world.
The Irish Observatory is calling on the Irish Government and our representatives in Europe to do all that they can to urge the Turkish Government to reconsider this action and to reaffirm its international commitment to protect the human rights of women and girls and all their citizens.
The fact that Turkey hosted the Signature Ceremony and was its first signatory is particularly concerning. Their withdrawal severely undermines the status of the Convention and indeed all human rights treaties. The Istanbul Convention is the world’s first joint binding effort to fight and to prevent all forms of violence against women including child marriage, marital rape, domestic violence, female genital mutilation and economic violence.
The Turkish government’s decision to withdraw from the Convention is especially dangerous and unjustifiable considering the undeniable spike in domestic violence all around the world triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.
We are also deeply concerned that this move by Turkey may encourage others to abdicate from the Convention which will result in devastating consequences for women and girls in these countries and beyond.
The Irish Observatory calls on you to urge President Ursula von der Leyen to use any and all effective measures available to ensure that all EU Member States ratify Convention and to work as a matter of urgency to finalise the accession of the EU to the Istanbul Convention.
The Irish Observatory calls on you to support the achievement of this stated “key priority” of the von der Leyen Commission.
Now is the time to deliver on the EU’s commitment to combating and preventing violence against women and all forms of gender-based violence with actions. Anything less is unacceptable to women and girls of Europe.
Furthermore, the Observatory calls on the Irish Government to publicly express its solidarity with Turkish women’s organisations working to end gender-based violence and assure them of continued support.
Irish Observatory on Violence Against Women and Girls
Action Aid Ireland
Dublin Rape Crisis Centre
Galway Rape Crisis Centre
Longford Women’s Link
Love & Care for People
Immigrant Council of Ireland
Irish Consortium on Gender Based Violence
National Collective of Community Based Women’s Networks (NCCWN)
National Women’s Council (NWC)
Pavee Point Traveller and Roma Centre
Sexual Violence Centre Cork
Sonas Domestic Violence Charity