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Europe Addresses Violence Against Women

Europe Addresses Violence Against Women


The Council of Europe's new convention on preventing and combating violence against women has inclusive language covering lesbian, bisexual, and transgender women.

The document, approved Wednesday by representatives of the foreign ministers of member states, obligates signatories to "take the necessary legislative and other measures to promote and protect the right for everyone, particularly women, to live free from violence in both the public and the private sphere." It is to be implemented without discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and numerous other characteristics.

The convention will be presented to the foreign ministers of the 47 member states -- virtually all the nations in Europe -- for ratification at a meeting May 11 in Istanbul. It "opens the path for creating a legal framework at pan-European level to protect women against all forms of violence," noted a Council of Europe press release.

The International Gay and Lesbian Association's European unit lobbied for the inclusive language. "ILGA-Europe warmly welcomes the adoption of the Convention and the recognition that lesbian, bisexual, and trans women are particularly vulnerable to violence and require specific measure of protection," said a statement issued by Linda Freimane, cochair of ILGA-Europe's executive board.

She added that her group was "shocked" by the opposition of the Russian Federation and the Vatican to the inclusive nondiscrimination provision, which raises "disturbing questions regarding the extent of their commitment to such fundamental rights as the right to life and the right to protection from violence."

Read more here.

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