Today, on the United Nations' International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, GUE/NGL MEPs are calling for an EU legal instrument to stop violence against women and girls.
Members of the European Parliament's Women's Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM) Committee from GUE/NGL elaborate below.
Swedish MEP, Malin Björk, explained: “It is high time for an EU legal instrument to address violence against women and girls. I hope that the urgency of this issue will push the European Commission to finally address this basic human rights issue in a more coherent way and that all the member states will ratify the Istanbul Convention.”
Portuguese MEP, Inês Zuber, commented: “The success of preventing, combating and eradicating the multiple forms of violence against women is inextricably linked to the realisation of their rights in law and in life, by ensuring their equal participation in various spheres including civic, political, sporting and cultural life. The economic independence of women is fundamental to freedom from dependence on offenders, particularly in the case of domestic violence.”
Spanish MEP, Angela Vallina, pointed to the role of education: “Today, one in three women in the world still experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetimes. Education is key to breaking down this endemic problem in our society. Yet, Spanish governments have been making massive funding cuts to gender-based institutions, as well as the withdrawal of the only academic subject in compulsory education that is dedicated to the study of universal values, 'Educación para la Ciudadanía'. There is still a long way to go to eliminate sexist violence around Europe. The political left must be seriously concerned with this issue and lead changes in order to eradicate the suffering undergone by 51 per cent of the population – that is, women.”
Greek MEP, Konstantina Kuneva, highlighted issues of violence for refugee women: “Millions of women live in hell from one day to the next. Especially refugee and migrant women who are forced to leave their countries, fleeing the violence from war, societal violence and economic violence that they have had to face every day. They leave looking forward to the possibility of a peaceful and decent life, but quite often end up experiencing other forms of violence in the countries where they seek refuge.”
“When they are victims of violence, women often believe that there is nothing they can do to escape and put an end to the violence they are experiencing. Usually they do not know where to go. They feel utterly powerless and they remain imprisoned in their own feelings. What I want to say to those women who experience violence in any form is that they are the ones who hold the keys and can unlock the doors of their prisons. As political stakeholders and activists we must be able to reassure these women that once they close that door of violence behind them that they will not be left alone, that they will be supported. And this is why, once again, we must proceed with ratifying and applying the Istanbul Convention.”
Italian MEP, Eleonora Forenza, added: “We need an ongoing daily commitment against gender-based violence and against patriarchy. Gender equality – in all aspects of life including education, health, employment, family, social and cultural life – is an essential objective to achieve the Europe we want to build.”
German MEP, Stefan Eck, concluded: “EU law needs to play a bigger role in combatting violence against women. Article 8 of the Lisbon Treaty guarantees the equality of women and men, but we all know that this is still not the reality. We have to close the loopholes in national as well as EU law in order to guarantee the safety of women and girls in our society. It is a shame that this is still not the case in the 21st century.”
GUE/NGL Press Contact:
Nikki Sullings +32 22 83 27 60 / +32 483 03 55 75
Gay Kavanagh +32 473 84 23 20