Government poised to ratify Istanbul Convention

Special Cabinet meeting to take place on International Women’s day on Friday

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar with Minister for Communications, Climate Action and the Environment  Richard Bruton, as well as Minister for Employment and Social Protection Regina Doherty.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar with Minister for Communications, Climate Action and the Environment Richard Bruton, as well as Minister for Employment and Social Protection Regina Doherty.

 

The Government is poised to ratify the Istanbul Convention as part of a special cabinet meeting on International Women’s Day, which takes place on Friday.

The Istanbul Convention obliges governments to fully address the issue of violence against women, to protect women against all forms of violence and to prosecute perpetrators.

Two senior sources said that a key part of the plans will involve the announcement of plans to ratify of the convention, as well as discussions on measures around gender pay and around the teaching of consent in educational campuses.

The National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI) called on the Government to ratify the convention after a Dáil motion on the same issue earlier this week.

Orla O’Connor, director of the NWCI, said that “after many years of campaigning by NWCI and violence against women organisations in Ireland, the Dáil motion has finally paved the way for a ratification of the Istanbul Convention”.

“We are calling on the Government to ratify this important convention on sexual harassment and violence against women without delay on International Women’s Day this Friday,” she continued.

“Over the past years, the context has changed in Ireland, with a wave of women speaking out against domestic and sexual violence.

“Ratifying the convention will provide the missing strategic framework to ensure our response to violence against women addresses the scale and complexity of the issue.

“It is an opportunity to bring about the systematic and institutional change needed to facilitate the protection of women and the accountability of perpetrators.”

One source said the Government is in the process of finalising its efforts to ratify the convention in time for the meeting and that technical work is ongoing to ensure this can happen.

The Istanbul Convention sets out minimum standards for governments to prevent and punish violence against women.

Though Ireland signed up to the convention in 2015, it has not yet ratified it, to bring it into force. As of February 2019, 45 countries have signed the convention and 33 have ratified it. Ireland’s signature should bring the number of ratifications to 34.

States that have ratified the agreement include Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland and Portugal.