Why priests are against the Istanbul Convention for the Protection of Women from Violence

Why priests are against the Istanbul Convention on the Protection of Women from Violence

President Volodymyr Zelensky has submitted to the Verkhovna Rada a bill to ratify the Istanbul Convention on the Prevention of Violence against Women. Ukraine signed the convention in 2011, but never ratified the document. Parliament has now corrected this error.

1. What is this convention?

This international treaty of the Council of Europe provides for the criminalization of violence against women, domestic violence, stalking, forced marriage and abortion, sterilization, as well as the protection of victims, the ability of law enforcement agencies to respond to various forms of violence and other measures to prevent or punish it.

This is the first document of its kind that legally obliges the creation of a legal framework to combat violence against women.

2. Why is it needed?

The ratification of the Istanbul Convention will allow the experts of the Council of Europe to control how Ukraine fulfills its obligations. In turn, Ukraine will be able to demand greater responsibility for offenders of Ukrainian citizens abroad, as well as bringing to justice Ukrainian offenders hiding abroad.

3. Who and why is against adoption?

Religious communities oppose the ratification of the Istanbul Convention. For example, the Council of Churches has already called on the Ukrainian government not to ratify the agreement. Politicians who target their constituents from religious communities also often oppose it.

The whole problem lies in the term “gender”, which is used in the convention. Religious communities fear that ratification could force one more gender to be added to the list besides male and female. And this, in turn, can lead to an escalation of tension and a split in Ukrainian society and the destruction of the traditional Ukrainian family. The Istanbul Convention requires the legalization of same-sex marriages and establishes new approaches to defining gender identity. The authors of the document themselves admit that it focuses on the destruction of prejudices and stereotypes.

There is information that the demand for ratification of the Istanbul Convention was voiced non-publicly by some EU member states as a prerequisite for Ukraine's approval of the status of a candidate for EU membership .

4. How are they punished now?

Domestic violence in Ukraine falls under both administrative and criminal legislation:

  • For the first case of domestic violence, an administrative penalty is provided: a fine (170-340 UAH), 30-40 hours of corrective labor or up to weeks in isolation.
  • Repetitive domestic violence during the year is punished a little tougher: a fine (UAH 340-680), 40-60 hours of corrective labor or 15 days in isolation.
  • They can be held criminally liable if the offender did not stop after two administrative penalties and again came to the attention of the police. Then the violator is threatened with community service from 150 to 240 hours, arrest for up to 6 months, or restriction of freedom for up to five years, or imprisonment for up to two years.

Supporters of the convention believe that there are inconsistencies in Ukrainian legislation, which, ideally, should have been “pulled up” by the convention. In their opinion, all cases of violence against women should be dealt with exclusively by criminal law.

5. How many countries have adopted it?

The document was signed by 46 countries and the European Union. However, another 10 of them have not ratified the agreement.

The Istanbul Convention has not been ratified by six EU members: Bulgaria, Hungary, Czech Republic, Latvia, Lithuania and Slovakia. Poland took steps to withdraw from the Convention, motivating its actions by attempts by the LGBT community to impose its ideas about gender on the whole society.

In March 2021, Turkey withdrew from the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence.

Another country that has signed but not ratified the Istanbul Convention is the Russian Federation. In this country, domestic violence was decriminalized in 2017, and the main argument against signing the Convention, Russia declares its incompatibility with the norms of traditional morality existing in the country and the foundations of state family policy.

Expert opinion

Anna Saenko, lawyer in the field of gender relations:

– Since we are striving for the EU, we really need ratification of this convention. It succeeded the second time. This is a framework document and now national legislation needs to be adjusted to it. The Istanbul conference is wider. For example, it has such a concept as “harassment” in relationships, which is not in our legislation. And now if someone persecutes someone, it will be punishable by law. In general, this document is aimed at improving the situation in the fight against violence against women.

Reference KP

International agreement to prevent and combat violence against women and domestic violence in the family. It was first signed in 2011 in Istanbul (Turkey). 46 countries and the European Union have signed.

The convention entered into force in 2014.

Interestingly, Turkey was the first to ratify the convention in 2012 and the first to withdraw from it.< /p>

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