Zelensky submits bill to Rada on ratification of Istanbul Convention

18 June, 05:26 PM
In 2020 and 2021, ratification of the Istanbul Convention was a key requirement of the Women's Marchs (Photo:Amnesty International Україна)

In 2020 and 2021, ratification of the Istanbul Convention was a key requirement of the Women's Marchs (Photo:Amnesty International Україна)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has submitted a bill on the ratification of the Istanbul Convention on the Prevention of Violence against Women to the Verkhovna Rada, the country’s parliament reported on its website on June 18.

Ukraine signed the Istanbul Convention in 2011, but the document has not been ratified. In 2020 and 2021, the ratification of the Istanbul Convention was the main demand of the Women's Marchs in Ukraine.

This international treaty of the Council of Europe provides for the criminalization of violence against women, domestic violence, stalking, forced marriage and abortion, sterilization, as well as the protection of victims, the ability of law enforcement agencies to respond to various forms of violence and other measures to prevent or punish it. As of May 2021, 33 countries have ratified the convention and 12 have signed it.

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Two petitions were created on the president's website calling for the ratification of the Istanbul Convention – both gained more than 25,000 votes. The president’s Feb. 17 response to the petition said that President Zelensky consistently supports the protection of the rights of people who have experienced domestic violence and gender-based violence.

Zelensky in June 2020 supported a petition calling for Ukraine’s ratification of the convention and signed a decree on creating measures to prevent and counter domestic violence, as well as to protect the rights of survivors of such violence. Based on the decree, the Cabinet of Ministers approved a relevant action plan in April 2021.

The March of Women initiative on June 17 stated that in the context of a full-scale war, the issue of protecting women is even more relevant, and called for the ratification of the Istanbul Convention.

“This will be an important step for Ukraine in the European integration process,” initiative activists wrote.

“Unlike in the Russian world, where domestic violence is decriminalized and not a crime, and where women are not protected in any way, we must emphasize the direction in which our country is moving. This is the path of European integration!”

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