MEP backs women's rights campaign

Get serious about ending violence against women by ratifying the Istanbul Convention.

Scottish Member of the European Parliament, Alyn Smith, has backed the campaign calling on the Prime Minister and Home Secretary to ratify the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence.

The Istanbul Convention, signed by the UK Government in 2012 but never ratified, obligates the state to fully address and take measures to prevent violence against women, protect victims of violence and prosecute the perpetrators.

Alyn said:

“Words can’t halt this violence – actions will. This is why I’ve been campaigning on the ratification of the Convention, and I will support any initiative working towards this goal.  This Convention has the potential to save lives of women in Scotland, in the UK and across the EU. That’s why I have written to the EU’s High Representative Federica Mogherini asking for her support for the EU-wide adoption of the treaty. The EU is now taking steps towards ratifying the Convention.

“Signing the Istanbul Convention by the UK back in 2012 was a positive step towards joining international efforts aimed at combating violence against women and girls, however three years on the UK Government is still unable to commit to the ratification of the treaty.

“On the first day of the UN 16-days of activism against gender-based violence, I back the petition and call on the Home Secretary and the Prime Minister to take this matter seriously. Statistics do not lie. Women around the world suffer abuse and violence during war and peacetime, at home and on the streets just because they are women.

“The UN International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women should serve to us all as a reminder that this problem is not one for behind closed doors but one that must be tackled in cooperation with domestic and international agencies, through education and law, through prevention and adequate victim support.

“When asked in the House of Commons when the Government is going to implement the Convention, the Prime Minister avoided the question entirely. This is a clear sign that we must sign petitions, start campaigns and push for change even more than before. If David Cameron is unwilling to treat the Istanbul Convention and women’s rights as one of the priorities of his government, we must make sure his inaction doesn’t go unnoticed. Women and girls in Scotland and the UK should have access to adequate support services and their protection should be enshrined in international law. Instead, we don’t even hear excuses from our Prime Minister and the UK Government.” petition is available here: