The Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence, or known as the Istanbul Convention, is an international human rights convention that sets the basic standards in the prevention and combat against violence against women and domestic violence and the obligations of states in this regard.
The Convention is supported by the Council of Europe and legally binds the states parties. The four basic principles of the contract; It is the implementation of policies that include holistic, coordinated and effective cooperation in the field of prevention of all kinds of violence against women and domestic violence, protection of victims of violence, prosecution of crimes, punishment of criminals and combating violence against women. It is the first binding international regulation that defines violence against women as a human rights violation and a type of discrimination. The commitments made by the parties under the contract are followed by GREVIO, the independent expert group.
Scope and importance
The draft agreement was prepared by evaluating many international treaty and recommendation texts before the United Nations (UN) in the contract negotiations. In the introduction part of the contract, the negative situations caused by the causes and consequences of violence are evaluated. Accordingly, violence against women is defined as a historical phenomenon and it is mentioned that violence arises from the power relations arising in the axis of gender inequality. This imbalance causes discriminatory treatment towards women. In the text, which describes gender as a state of behavior and action fictionalized by the society, violence against women is considered as human rights violation and it is stated that situations such as violence, sexual abuse, harassment, rape, forced and early marriage and honor killings make women “other” in the society. The definition of violence in the convention is similar to the 19th recommendation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women and the definition of the UN Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Violence against women. The recommendation of the Convention in this regard is that ensuring gender equality will prevent violence against women. Following this definition, the contract puts States parties on an obligation to prevent violence. The explanatory text emphasizes that discrimination should not be made in situations such as gender, sexual orientation, sexual identity, age, health and disability, marital status, immigrant and refugee. In this context, considering the fact that women are exposed to more violence in the family than men, it is stated that support services should be established for women victims, special measures should be taken and more resources should be transferred, and it is pointed out that this is not discrimination for men.
Although there are many international regulations prohibiting violence or discrimination against women in international law, the Istanbul Convention has a distinctive feature with its scope and the control mechanism it has established. The convention includes the most comprehensive definitions of violence against women and gender-based discrimination ever made.
The Istanbul Convention imposes the responsibility of the signatory states to produce and implement policies that are inclusive on the axis of gender equality, to establish more economic resources to achieve this, to collect and share statistical data on the extent of violence against women, and to create a social mentality change that will prevent violence. The basic expectation and condition in this obligation is that it should be established without any discrimination. In this context, states parties should raise awareness and cooperate with non-governmental organizations and relevant institutions to prevent violence. In addition, training, establishment of expert staff, preventive intervention and treatment processes, the involvement of the private sector and the media, the right of victims to receive legal aid and the provision of monitoring board mechanisms are under the responsibility of the states parties.
Although the Convention aims to prevent violence against women, it includes all members of the household, as stated in Article 2. Accordingly, the Convention aims not only to women but also to prevent violence and child abuse against children. Article 26 has been determined in this context and according to the article, States parties should protect the rights of children who are victims of violence and provide legal and psycho-social counseling services, and take preventive and protective measures against the negative situation. Article 37 states the obligation to establish legal bases for juvenile marriage and criminal marriages.
The Convention, consisting of 12 articles divided into 80 sections, generally advocates the principles of Prevention, Protection, Judgment / Prosecution and Integrated Policies / Support Policies.
The Convention also draws attention to “women”, victims of violence based on the current situation in gender, gender imbalance and power relations, as well as the protection of children. In the convention, the term women covers not only adults but also girls under the age of 18 and determines the policies to be implemented accordingly. Violence prevention is the primary emphasis of the contract. Accordingly, it expects states parties to end all kinds of thoughts, cultures and political practices that make women more disadvantaged in the social structure. In this context, it is under the responsibility of the State party to prevent the thought patterns formed in the axis of gender roles, the concepts such as culture, honor, religion, tradition or “so-called honor” as a reason for widespread violence and taking preventive measures. It is stated that essential human rights and freedoms should be taken as a reference point in these preventive measures.
In the convention, the states parties oblige to disseminate and implement campaigns and programs that raise public awareness about the effects of violence and violence on women and children in cooperation with various organizations (such as NGOs and women's associations). In this direction, following the curriculum and syllabuses that will create social awareness at all levels of educational institutions in the country, providing social awareness against violence and in the processes of violence; It is stated that expert staff should be formed in the fields of prevention and detection of violence, equality of women and men, the needs and rights of victims as well as prevention of secondary victimization. The parties have the responsibility to take legal measures to prevent and prevent recurrence of domestic violence and sexual crimes, and at the same time, the private sector, the information sector and the media will encourage the creation and implementation of policies and the setting of self-regulatory standards to prevent violence against women and increase respect for women's dignity.
Protection and support
The protection and support section of the convention emphasizes the measures to be taken in order not to repeat the negative situations experienced by the victims and the need for support services after the victimizations. Legal measures to be taken for the protection and support of victims of violence are taken into consideration in the IV. It is determined in the section. While the States parties to protect against violence and violence, which are outlined in the Convention, should protect and support victims and witnesses, an effective and effective cooperation should be established with state institutions such as judicial units, prosecutors, law enforcement, local governments (governorship etc.) and NGOs and other relevant institutions. During the protection and support phase, the focus should be on basic human rights and freedoms and safety for victims. In this part of the contract, there is also the article on supporting women who are victims of violence and aiming their economic independence. States parties should inform victims about their legal rights and the support services they can receive, while this should be done "on time" and at the same time it is expected to be adequate in understandable language. The contract also provides examples of support services that victims can receive. In this context, it is stated that legal and psychological counseling (expert support), economic assistance, sheltering, healthcare, education, training and employment should be provided to victims when necessary. Article 23 emphasizes that there should be women's shelters suitable for women and children from victims and that victims can easily benefit from these services. The next item is telephone hotline advice, where victims of violence can receive uninterrupted support.
The obligation to provide protection and support services for victims of sexual violence must be fulfilled by States parties. Legal measures are expected from States parties to conduct medical and forensic medical examinations for sexual violence victims, to provide support and counseling services for trauma and to establish crisis centers that are easily accessible for rape victims. Likewise, it is among the legal measures required by the contract to encourage the transmission of violence and potential grievances (potential grievances), which are framed regardless of the type, to the competent institutions and to provide a suitable environment. In other words, victims of violence and those who feel threatened are encouraged to report their situation to the authorities. In addition, following the creation of expert staff specified in the “Prevention” section, there should be no obstacle to the notification of such assessments that such violence is carried out and subsequent serious acts of violence can be carried out to the competent superior institutions. The importance of these assessments regarding the grievances experienced and the prevention of possible grievances is also addressed in Article 28. Legal measures to be taken for child witnesses of violence and support services to be implemented are also addressed in Article 26.
Legal remedies and measures related to the principles set out in the contract are set out in Section V. In this context, States parties should enable the victim to get all kinds of legal support against the attacker. In this follow-up, the general principles of international law should be taken as reference. Parties should take legal measures to remove the perpetrator of violence to protect the victim or the person at risk in situations involving risk. In addition, the parties are obliged to make legal arrangements during the investigation to ensure that details of the victim's sexual history and behavior are not included, unless they are relevant to the case.
The Convention brings the right to compensation against perpetrators for victims of violence, States parties should take legal measures for this right. Sufficient state compensation should be provided to the victim if the damage caused by the violence does not cover the perpetrator or public state health and social insurance (SGK etc.) and there is serious physical injury or mental disorder. In this context, it is also possible that the Parties request that the compensation in question be reduced as much as the compensation awarded by the perpetrator, provided that due attention is paid to the safety of the victim. If the subject of the victim of violence is a child, legal measures should be taken to determine the child's custody and the right to visit. In this context, the parties are obliged to ensure the safety of the victims during custody and visit processes. Articles 32 and 37 emphasize legal measures for the annulment and termination of child and early marriages and forced marriages. Article 37 stipulates criminal proceedings to force a child or adult into marriage. While forcing and encouraging a woman to be circumcised are among the examples of violence outlined in the contract; Forcing a woman to abortion without exposing her prior informed consent and terminating her natural reproductive capacity in these processes are also defined as actions requiring criminal legal measures in the contract. States parties are obliged to take measures against these situations.
Measures against sexual violence
Harassment, various types of this and the responsibility of the State parties for the criminal response of psychological violence, physical violence and rape are included in Articles 33 to 36 and Articles 40 and 41 of the Convention. Accordingly, the parties have to take legal measures against coercions and threats that will disrupt the mental state of individuals. States parties should take legal measures against any form of harassment that causes individuals not to feel safe. It is under the obligations of the parties to take effective legal measures to punish perpetrators against all forms of sexual violence, including rape. In Article 36 addressing this obligation, "to perform a sexual vaginal, anal or oral penetration with another person, without his consent, using any body part or body" and "engaging in other acts of sexual nature with a person without his consent" Forcing, encouraging, and defeating a person with a third party without a consent of a sexual act are actions that should be punished.
Violate the honor of the individual and carried out for this purpose; Situations and environments that are degrading, hostile, insulting, humiliating or offensive, as well as verbal or non-verbal or physical behaviors of a sexual nature are defined as negative situations in which the parties must provide criminal sanctions and take legal measures.
The Istanbul Convention brings the obligation of legal measures from the States parties to any form of violence that it defines and outlines. For a long-term and effective solution to violence, a more comprehensive and coordinated government policy is shared. The “measures” to be taken at this point should be part of comprehensive and coordinated policies. Emphasis is placed on the allocation of financial and human resources, and on effective cooperation with non-governmental organizations that combat violence against women. The parties should establish or establish an "agency" responsible for the coordination / implementation / monitoring and evaluation of policies and measures that will prevent and combat violence determined by the contract.
Sanctions and measures
It is generally stated in every main heading and article that the states parties should take preventive / protective legal measures against the violence outlined in the convention. These measures should be effective, proportionate and deterrent against the crimes identified. Likewise, the monitoring and control of convicted offenders has been shown as an example within the scope of other measures that states parties can take. If the victim is a child and the child's safety is not provided, there is also a recommendation to take custody rights.
There are also references to the proportion and weight of legal measures to be taken in the contract. Accordingly, if the crime is committed against the spouse, ex-wife or the person living together, by one of the family members, by the person living with the victim or by someone who abuses his / her authority, the criminal weight should be increased by the following factors: the crime is committed against individuals who have become sensitive, the crime is committed against or in the presence of the child, the crime is organized in two or more perpetrators organized, "if the crime has been subjected to excessive violence before or during the crime", if the offense has inflicted heavy physical and psychological harm to the victim, if the offender previously convicted for similar offenses.
Signing and entering into force
The agreement was accepted at the 121st meeting of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe in Istanbul.  Since it was opened for signature in Istanbul on 11 May 2011, it is known as the "Istanbul Convention" and it came into force on 1 August 2014. Turkey signed the first contract on 11 May 2011 and was the first country to ratify in parliament on 24 November 2011. The certificate of approval was forwarded to the Secretary General of the Council of Europe on 14 March 2012. As of July 2020, it was signed by 45 countries and the European Union and approved in 34 of the signatory countries.
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The commitments made by the States parties within the scope of the contract are monitored and supervised by the independent experts group "Action Group Against Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence" known as GREVIO. GREVIO's mandate is determined by Article 66 of the Convention. The first meeting was held in Strasbourg on 21 - 23 September 2015. The committee has between 10-15 members, depending on the number of States parties, and gender and geographical balance is sought between members. Experts in the committee are members with interdisciplinary expertise on human rights and gender equality. The top 10 GREVIO members were elected for a five-year term on May 4, 2015. Feride Acar was the chairman of the committee between 2015-2019 for two terms. On May 24, 2018, the number of committee members was increased to fifteen. The committee started its first country assessments in March 2016. The Committee today Albania, Austria, Finland, Malta, Poland, France, published reports on the situation in numerous countries such as Turkey and Italy are available. The current chairman of the committee is Marceline Naudi and the committee's term of office during this period is 2 years.
The supporters of the convention accuse the opponents of manipulating the articles in the Convention by misleading the public by misleading them. In a press release published in November 2018, the Council of Europe noted that despite the "clearly stated purpose of the convention", extreme conservative and religious groups have voiced distorted narratives. In this context, it was stated that the contract is intended only to prevent violence against women and domestic violence, it does not impose a certain life and acceptance and does not interfere with private life styles. It was also noted that the Convention is not about ending sexual differences between men and women, it does not imply the "sameness" of men and women in the text, and that there is no definition of family in the contract and no incentives. Against the distorted distortions, the Council also published a question and answer booklet about the contract.
States that signed the contract but did not enforce include Armenia, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Moldova, Slovakia, Ukraine and the United Kingdom. Slovakia refused to ratify the contract on February 26, 2020, and Hungary on May 5, 2020. In July 2020, Poland initiated the legal process to withdraw from the Convention. Tens of thousands of protesters protested that the decision would undermine women's rights. Poland also received a response from the Council of Europe and its parliamentarians.
Turkey Istanbul Convention's first signatory of Turkey Grand National Assembly on 24 November 2011 and the government accepted 247 of the 246 deputies vote, one deputy with the issuance abstentions "endorsing", said in a statement the Ministry of undergoing the first country olmuştur.dışiş from parliament, the European Presidency of the Council signed the contract while it is in Turkey, "said the first international document against women in the field of violence the country has played a leading role in the negotiation process by our contract." statement was given. The bill, sent to Parliament by the Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Turkey's justification for the preparation and finalization of the contract "leading role" was pointed out to play. The obligations of the Convention were also listed on the grounds that “it is considered that being a party to the contract will not add an additional burden to our country and will contribute positively to the developing international prestige of our country”. 1 Orange says an editorial by Erdogan on the occasion of International Women's Day magazine, Turkey's contract "without reservation" signature he put it, in many countries, "economic crisis," said the Due out the harmonization laws that removed by 2015 numbered Protection Law in Turkey. The Minister of Family and Social Policies, Fatma Şahin, on the other hand, stated that “it is an important will, and it is our duty to do what is necessary for us to be a party to the Convention”. He stated that the action plan was prepared in the light of the Convention with the expression "in the light of the contract" in the National Action Plan on Combating Violence Against Women (6284-2012) to cover the new developments and needs.
3 has released the first report on GREVIO to Turkey in July 2017. While expressing satisfaction for the positive steps taken in the report, the deficiencies in legal regulations, policies and measures were emphasized to end violence against women and proposals were made for more effective implementation of the contract. The absence of judicial data on the prosecution and punishment of perpetrators, and the concerns that sexist prejudices against women and accusations of victims lead to a reduction in the proceedings were expressed. In the report, it was emphasized that the measures taken in order to protect women against violence have progressed, and that the state of impunity has become continuous and it is stated that more intensive efforts are needed in combating violence against women, in preventing, protecting, prosecuting and establishing holistic policies. In the report, it was pointed out that the victims were afraid to report their grievances to the competent authorities, that they were afraid of stigma and repetition of violence, there was no significant progress in encouraging feedback and effective struggle. It was pointed out that the lack of economic independence of the victims, the lack of literacy in the legal texts, the distrust of the judicial and prosecution authorities in the low rate of reporting in cases of violence. In particular, it was pointed out that rape and sexual violence cases were “almost never reported by victims”.
In Turkey, about killings and female victimization experienced by women in violence as defined under the contract directly to the achievement of statistical data, there are some known problems and real data. The data on this issue are given mainly from shadow reports of associations, non-governmental organizations and some media organs that struggle with violence against women. GREVIO also examines shadow reports prepared in the countries. Turkey Feride Acar, one of the authors of the Convention GREVIO after two terms as president, has proposed to Turkey Askin Asan Asan committee member and has been involved in the committee's membership. Women's associations also called for Acar to be proposed as a member before this nomination and reacted to Asan's candidacy.
In February 2020 Turkey, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who was brought up by the Convention will be reviewed. In the same period and in the subsequent process, while making publications and propaganda in some conservative media or religious communities that the Contract "disrupts the Turkish family structure", "prepares the legal ground for homosexuality", it is stated that the women party members of the AK Party are against the step back from the contract and "wrong perception about the contract is created in the public. ”A report stating that they expressed to the President was reflected in the press. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said in July 2020, “If the people want, remove it. If the demand of the people is to be lifted, a decision should be made accordingly. Whatever the people say "he said. As soon as Numan Kurtümüş said, “If this contract is signed by fulfilling its procedure, the procedure is followed in the same way, and it is exited from this contract”, the Convention started to be widely included in the public and political agenda. This range metropolises Research 2018 Turkey's general elections on the political leanings by his public opinion approval to withdraw from the agreement of the people 64% of the research, the AK Party, 49.7% of those who approve the withdrawal from the contract voters and announced that he declare to the idea of cutting 24,6'lık%. A lot of data was shared in other party voters who did not approve. increase in murders of women in Turkey in the period when these discussions, Emine Clouds and Spring Gideon murder as many after the case with social impact "Istanbul Convention is Alive" campaign was held and organized mass protests.