Czech government approves ratification of the Istanbul Convention

The move marks a significant step toward the ratification of the Istanbul Convention on the prevention of violence against women.


Written by ČTK Published on 21.06.2023 13:49:00 (updated on 21.06.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

The Czech cabinet has taken a significant step towards ratifying the Istanbul Convention on the prevention and combating of violence against women and domestic violence.

The junior government party Mayors and Independents (STAN) announced on Twitter that the cabinet agreed to proceed with the ratification process and has sent the treaty to the Chamber of Deputies for a decision.

The Istanbul Convention aims to provide a comprehensive framework for combating violence against women and domestic violence, establishing legal standards, and fostering cooperation among signatory countries. Once ratified, the convention will become legally binding in Czechia, reinforcing the government's obligation to address this critical issue.

"Our government has recommended for approval the Convention on the Prevention and Combating of Violence against Women and Domestic Violence. What does the Istanbul Convention entail? Effective work with victims and perpetrators of violence, the prevention of violence, and the education of police, prosecutors, and lawyers," STAN tweeted.

Lawmakers also said in their tweet that the signing of the convention does not threaten Czech traditions like Easter, change LGBTQ+ rights, or affect migration policies.

Klára Šimáčková Laurenčíková, the government's human rights commissioner, also confirmed on social media that the Istanbul Convention has been approved by the government for ratification. She wrote in a tweet:

"Huge joy! The government has just approved the ratification of the Istanbul Convention. This marks a major step towards systematic and functional protection of victims of violence, strengthening prevention, and developing programs for perpetrators of violence. We now have a debate in parliament, but I believe that the way forward is open."

The convention, initially adopted in 2011 and signed in 2016 during the previous Czech government led by Andrej Babiš (of the ANO party), has been a source of contention in Czechia.

Opposition to the convention has been primarily driven by conservatives and seven Christian churches. However, its proponents argue that ratification will improve assistance for victims and underscore the country's stance against violence.

In the past, the ratification process faced delays due to controversy surrounding the convention's text, prompting previous governments – as well as current ministers – to postpone it.

However, the present coalition government, in its policy statement, emphasized that the convention will ensure enhanced protection for victims of sexual and domestic violence.

The ratification must now be approved by a simple majority in the Senate, after which the president must sign. According to a recent poll by iRozhlas, 10 out of 18 members of the Senate would vote for the ratification of the Istanbul Convention.

By taking this step towards ratification, the Czech government aims to strengthen its efforts to combat violence against women and domestic violence, promoting a society where such acts are unequivocally condemned.

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