Category Archives: domestic violence

Ratification of the Istanbul Convention

I last blogged on the approaching ratification of the Istanbul Convention in December 2016 (see also this post). Well, it’s now upon us. On 17 May 2022 the Home Secretary made a Statement regarding ratification of the Istanbul Convention containing this para,

If no objections are raised to ratification of the Convention in either House within the next 21 joint sitting days, the Government will arrange to deposit its instrument of ratification. In line with the requirement under section 1(3)(b) of the 2017 Act I can therefore confirm that I would expect the UK to have ratified the Convention by 31 July 2022.

I have written to my MP asking him to raise an objection – text below. I am hardly optimistic, but it’s worth a shot.

Text of email to MP…

Ratifying the Istanbul Convention

Please raise an Objection to this ratification.

The Istanbul Convention, if ratified, would be in conflict with the Equality Act 2010.

Conflict with Equality Act 2010

In UK processes, Violence Against Women and Girls avoids conflict with the Equality Act 2010 because it is understood as a technical legal expression denoting a category of crime which includes male victims of said crimes.

There is no such provision in regard to the Istanbul Convention which explicitly, literally, refers to the combating of violence against women only. This raises an issue of conflict with the Equality Act 2010 which, as a minimum, requires senior legal ruling.

Background

On 17 May 2022 the Home Secretary made a Statement regarding ratification of the Istanbul Convention containing this para,

If no objections are raised to ratification of the Convention in either House within the next 21 joint sitting days, the Government will arrange to deposit its instrument of ratification. In line with the requirement under section 1(3)(b) of the 2017 Act I can therefore confirm that I would expect the UK to have ratified the Convention by 31 July 2022.

Please raise an Objection on the grounds stated above.

*******

Response received, 26/5/22…..which, as you will see, does not address my point at all, and was clearly prepared for another issue and pressed into service here to save any further effort…

Thank you for contacting me about Turkey and the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence, otherwise known as the Istanbul Convention. 

The UK accords a high priority to advancing gender equality and women’s rights across the world. Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) officials regularly raise gender issues, including violence against women and girls (VAWG), in multilateral fora, such as the UN and Council of Europe, and directly with countries where concerns exist. 

I, too, am disappointed that the Turkish Government decided in 2021 to withdraw from Istanbul Convention, of which the UK is also a signatory. As Turkey was the first country to ratify and had taken steps to align its own national legislation with the Istanbul Convention, it is all the more disappointing that it took this decision. 

Ministers at the FCDO urged the Turkish Government to reconsider its decision in March 2021, and have continued to do so since as part of a wider effort to encourage it to abide by its international commitments.

The UK Government continues to be committed to the Convention. Indeed, on 17 May, the Home Secretary confirmed in that the Government is now satisfied that it has the legislative framework and other necessary measures in place to meet the requirements of the Convention. The Government laid the text of the Convention before Parliament on the same day and, if after 21 sitting days, no objection has been raised by Parliament, it will be ratified. 

Thank you for taking the time to write to me on this matter.

Kind regards,
(redacted)
on behalf of
(redacted)