In a debate on violence against women in the European Union, MEPs called on Czechia and five other member states to ratify, without further delay, the Istanbul Convention, which focuses on combating domestic and sexual violence. Many legislators believe that there is no need to wait for the convention to be approved by individual member states. According to them, they should confirm the document at the EU level by a qualified majority.
The Czech Republic signed the agreement in May 2016. The government was to discuss ratification last July, but Prime Minister Andrej Babiš postponed the negotiations. Slovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Latvia and Lithuania have not ratified the document either.
“In the European Union, we can very effectively defend consumers and their rights, but we cannot protect women from physical and psychological violence,” said Slovak social-liberal MEP Michal Šimečka from the Progressive Slovakia (PS) party.
According to MEPs, there have been more cases of violence against women during the COVID-19 pandemic when women have spent more time at home with their partners.
The Istanbul Convention condemns domestic violence, sexual harassment, rape, forced marriages, so-called honor crimes and genital mutilation. According to Czech conservatives and Catholics, such an agreement is not necessary. Proponents of the convention say it would emphasize the unacceptability of violence against women and provide more scope for victim assistance.