On the 20th of June, 2022, Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine supported the ratification of the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence, better known as the Istanbul Convention.

259 People’s Deputies of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine voted "for", 4 - against, 25 - abstained.

The Convention on the Prevention and Combating of Violence against Women and Domestic Violence, known as the Istanbul Convention, is the Council of Europe’s legal framework for combating violence against women and girls. These are the best ideas for combating gender-based violence in one document. The Convention offers governments the necessary standards to combat violence against women and girls and sets out exactly what governments should do to prevent violence, to protect victims and to bring perpetrators to justice. The document is based on many years of relevant experience and identifies the best ways to overcome and prevent gender-based violence. The Convention has legal force, so any country that ratifies it (gives the force of law) must abide by its provisions.

“Congratulations to our partners and colleagues from human rights organizations who have for many years sought the determination and responsibility of the Ukrainian authorities to ratify the Istanbul Convention, so that Ukrainian women have the right to an effective international tool for protection against violence.

The Istanbul Convention was signed by Ukraine on November 11, 2011, but has not yet been ratified, due to the protracted discussion and the creation of a bunch of myths around it, especially related to the concept of "gender". For 10 years we have witnessed real battles among politicians, public activists, church representatives over the issue of ratification. I and other representatives of CO “Legalife-Ukraine” also joined these "battles" and took part in the Actions for Women’s Rights on March 8 for the few previous years, the main demand of which was the ratification of the Istanbul Convention.

Activists of CO "Legalife-Ukraine" participate in Womens March in 2020

There are concerns among sex workers about the implementation of the ideas set out in the document and the possible negative consequences for sex workers, but we hope that Ukraine will use many years of experience and European standards in preventing and overcoming gender-based violence to protect all citizens, including sex workers of Ukraine ”, -

Nataliia Isaieva, Director of CO “Legalife-Ukraine”

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