Activists handed over thousands of signatures for ratifying the Istanbul Convention to the deputies

Дата: 16 May 2017
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This morning, activists have held an action-performance at the Verkhovna Rada, demanding from the deputies to urgently ratify the Istanbul Convention, a document that is designed to protect women and children from domestic violence.

As reported by reporter of the Human Rights Information Centre, about 30 participants of the action handed over letters from more than a thousand different organizations and people demanding to ratify the Convention to the deputies.

Transfer was preceded by a theatrical performance. The activists played the scene of an evening conversation between a man and a woman. A man is annoyed because his wife incorrectly added sugar to tea. In this petty quarrel, the man quickly loses his temper and begins to beat his wife. But at this moment other activists run up and cover the man with a banner with the inscription Istanbul Convention, symbolizing that in this way the woman will be protected.

Lawyers, social workers, psychologists and workers of the hotline for issues concerning violence, accompanied by the Human Rights Center La Strada Ukraine, came to support the action.

According to the participants of the action, the number of women who annually receive serious physical injuries from a partner or a husband is 1.85 million (including 15,000 gunshot wounds). Moreover, according to the study conducted by La Strada and the DCAF, the police are not conducting an investigation in more than half of these cases.

“In Ukraine, millions of women and children suffer from domestic violence and the state does nothing to protect them. Deputies refuse to take realistic steps to introduce effective mechanisms on protection of victims of domestic violence, including the ratification of the Istanbul Convention. That’s why once again we go out on the action in Kyiv and our activists go out on the actions in other cities: we will continue pressing on the authorities until the document is ratified”, – said Oksana Pokalchuk, Executive Director of the Amnesty International Ukraine.

The Istanbul Convention is designed to protect women and children from domestic violence. So far, stereotypes around this problem still dominate in Ukraine, alleging that, domestic violence is “a personal affair”, “If he beats then it means he loves”, “My parents have beaten me and done the right thing”, “How a child will grow up without a father…”.

“The topics of domestic violence and the ratification of the Istanbul Convention are not a whim of several activists. It affects at least 130,000 Ukrainian citizens, given the fixed statistics of the National Police for 2016. Experts say that this only reflects 10-15% of the real picture.

At the same time, journalists from different regions of Ukraine – Zaporizhia, Poltava, Ivano-Frankivsk, Lviv, Donetsk/Mariupol, Kyiv – sound alarm and highlight the need to solve the problem of domestic violence systematically and without amendments “not in time”. And for this, the information campaign “Violence: silence cannot talk” is launched. And where to put a comma here depends only on us – conscious citizens of Ukraine. And whether we will tolerate domestic violence and indifference on the part of the state”, – said Iryna Vyrtosu, Chief Editor of the Human Rights Information Centre and coordinator of the campaign against violence.

The Istanbul Convention (The Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence) is important to:

– ensure law enforcement bodies’ respect towards injured person at the time he reports injuries;

– isolate the offender from the victim and guarantee safety of the victim;

– ensure proper investigation based on testimony of the victims and a fair trial in the court;

– guarantee comprehensive assistance to the victim and effective punishment of the offender;

– create national telephone trust line.

As a reminder, Ukraine has not yet ratified the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence, known as the Istanbul Convention.

The Istanbul Convention was supposed to be ratified by Ukraine in the second quarter of 2016, as it is written in the Plan of Legislative Support for Reforms in Ukraine. However, then the ratification was postponed to July, then to August 2016.

On November 14, 2016, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko submitted the draft Law of Ukraine “On the Ratification of the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence”, known as the Istanbul Convention, to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.

However, the ratification has not taken place yet, moreover, the deputies have put this issue on a pause.

The material was prepared within the framework of the information campaign “Violence: silence cannot talk” with the support of the Freedom House Ukraine.

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