Women's groups demand "urgent" ratification of Istanbul Convention

The Istanbul Convention is an international treaty aimed at reducing violence against women

Women's groups demand "urgent" ratification of Istanbul Convention

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A coalition of women’s groups has warned that Ireland must ratify an international convention aimed at reducing violence against women, “as soon as possible.”

The Istanbul Convention commits countries to making greater efforts to combat violence against women and girls.

The government signed the convention in 2015, but is yet to ratify it.

At a seminar this afternoon, the Irish Observatory on Violence Against Women called on the Government to show “real political leadership” on the issue to ensure women are protected and perpetrators of violence are held accountable.

Ratification

National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI) director Orla O'Connor said ratifying the convention will provide “comprehensive and strategic approach to tackling violence against women.”

She said authorities now must take an urgent approach to the ratification.

“Austria for example has already signed and ratified the convention and the Government have promised that we will but we are doing it very slowly and now it has been pushed out until next year,” she said.

“The Women’s Council and the National Observatory on Violence Against Women – all the NGOs working in that space – want the Government to up the pace of change on this and make sure that it is ratified as soon as possible in early 2019.”

Domestic abuse

The NWCI said one-in-five women in Ireland have experienced domestic abuse.

It said half of female murders carried out by partners or ex-partners – with 90% perpetrated by someone known to the victim.

Delay

Noeline Blackwell, CEO of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre, said Government action is vital to protect women.

“How do we actually tackle what is one of the biggest human rights violations in this country – but wider as well, which is violence against women and girls?” she said.

“If we solve that, we solve all gender-based violence and we make for a more equal society.”

The groups are calling on Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan to outline the steps he will take to ensure that Ireland ratifies the convention without delay.