The Council of Europe’s Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention) is a comprehensive international treaty which seeks to harmonize parts of national legislation concerning violence against women and domestic violence.
While ADF International is strongly opposed to violence against women and girls, several concerns with the wording of the Istanbul Convention should be underscored:
- It codifies a controversial, non-consensual definition of “gender” as a social construct that is independent of biological reality.
- It aims to eradicate any “tradition based on stereotyped gender roles.” The binary view of mankind and of marriage, held by all major religions, may be stigmatized as a “tradition based on stereotyped gender roles” and thus something that should be opposed in teaching materials or school curricula.
- It could infringe on the right of parents to educate their children in accordance with their moral and religious convictions, especially by mainstreaming gender (as a social construct) in education.
- It calls for the establishment of a far-reaching monitoring mechanism (GREVIO)
- EU accession could entail an unclear division of competence between EU Member States and the EU, possibly even infringing Member States’ exclusive competence
The EU has been negotiating its accession to the Istanbul Convention for almost a year. On 11 May 2017, the Council adopted two decisions on the signing of the Istanbul Convention, within the limits of exclusive EU competence, and with a particular focus on asylum, non-refoulment and judicial cooperation in criminal matters (Articles 78 (2), 82 and 83 TFEU).
On the basis of these two decisions, the EU signed the Istanbul Convention on 13 June 2017.