More than 80 organisations have called for the Istanbul Convention to be ‘ratified without reservations’ in a letter sent today to Secretary of State, Priti Patel MP.
After many years of campaigning by women’s rights organisations including the End Violence Against Women Coalition (EVAW), the government has announced that it will finally ratify the Istanbul Convention on violence against women.
This is a big step towards improved support for survivors, more effective prosecution, and gender equality in the UK. Once the UK has ratified the Istanbul Convention, it will become legally binding and will enable us to hold the government to account for tackling violence against women according to its standards.
However, the news is bittersweet. We are deeply disappointed to see that the Government has decided to ratify with reservations, effectively ‘opting out’ of a key support and protections, particularly for migrant women. This means they will be denied life-saving support and protection.
The letter states:
“We are extremely concerned at the decision to make a reservation on Article 59, which requires member states to grant residence to victims whose immigration status depends on an abusive partner.
This reservation, which denies migrant women survivors life-saving support, would be disastrous for them. It will mean migrant women, who will be some of the most reliant on the protections of the Convention, will be excluded from it. This is in direct opposition to the spirit of the Convention, which is firmly based on the principles of equality and non-discrimination. “
The letter is published in full here.
It has been signed by EVAW, IC Change, Step Up Migrant Women Campaign, Latin American Women’s Rights Service, Southall Black Sisters, Rape Crisis England & Wales, Welsh Women’s Aid, Human Rights Watch, Women for Refugee Women among many others.
We believe that #WomenMeansAllWomen and direct people to the IC Change website for more information on how you can add your voice to our call: https://icchange.co.uk/allwomen