Alyn Smith MEP has voted in favour of an EU-wide Convention that would compel states to guarantee minimum standards of responsibility to protecting women and girls from gender-based violence “in all its forms”.
The Convention on preventing and combating violence against women, also known as the Istanbul Convention, is the first international instrument of its kind. Member States that ratify it must follow comprehensive, legally binding standards to prevent violence, including domestic and sexual violence, stalking, harassment, forced marriage, female genital mutilation and forced sterilisation.
The Resolution in the European Parliament, calling for all Member States to ratify the Convention, passed with 500 votes in favour, 91 against and 50 abstentions.
Alyn Smith said:
“The UK is one of only seven member states to have failed to ratify the Convention, despite having signed it in 2012. That’s shameful. The Convention isn’t a vague series of wishes – it’s a hard-headed, well thought out series of solid proposals, backed by specialists in women’s support services.
“Women’s rights should not be allowed to take a back seat to brexit, austerity measures, and whatever else Westminster is cooking up. I was proud to vote alongside by European colleagues today, and I’ll keep doing whatever I can to ensure women’s rights don’t get swept under the carpet.
“One in three women across the EU has experienced physical and/or sexual violence. Today, the European Parliament has said “Enough is Enough.” Deeds, not words. Governments should not be allowed to dodge their responsibilities to women, and I urge the UK Government to do the right thing and ratify the Convention as soon as possible. No more delays."