Life

9 November 2022, 10:56 PM

Istanbul Convention comes into force in Ukraine

The Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence – more commonly known as the Istanbul Convention – came into force in Ukraine on Nov. 1. Human rights watchdog Center of United Actions explains what that means for the Ukrainian justice system.

It's the first international agreement that characterizes violence against women as a violation of human rights and a form of discrimination. As of November 2022, it has been signed by 47 countries – including Ukraine – but only 30 of them ratified the convention.

Ukraine signed the convention in 2011, the first year it was opened for signature, but it was ratified only in June 2022.

The Istanbul Convention aims to change stereotypes regarding gender roles and the resulting violence in Ukrainian society. It suggests the implementation of nationwide awareness-raising campaigns on framing of gender-based violence, in particular for judges, law enforcement officers, and lawyers dealing with crimes against women.

Regulation of criminal liability should include punishments for stalking and intentional mutilation of female genitalia. Furthermore, mediation and conciliation are forbidden for resolving domestic violence cases, as abusers can resort to violence again outside the courtroom. Ukraine commits to increase the number of temporary shelters for victims of domestic violence.

This convention doesn't mandate changes to Ukraine’s Constitution or family laws in general – its focus remains on addressing domestic violence.

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