BRUSSELS: EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell is calling on Turkey to reverse its decision to leave the EU-backed Istanbul Convention on women’s rights.
“Now is the time to show leadership and enhance global efforts to fight violence against women and girls, not to retreat. This is why we cannot but regret deeply and express incomprehension towards the decision of the Turkish government to withdraw from this convention that even bears the name of Istanbul. This decision risks compromising the protection and fundamental rights of women and girls in Turkey,” Borrell said in a Saturday statement.
He added that Turkey’s decision sends a dangerous message across the world and emphasized that the rights of women and girls are a fundamental element of equality and security in the 21st century.
“The Istanbul Convention is the first international legally binding instrument to combat violence against women and domestic violence. It aims at ensuring essential legal protection to women and girls across the world. This is today more important than ever, as violence against women and girls has increased to new levels world-wide as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and of the many conflicts, where women are primary victims,” Borrell stressed, adding “We therefore cannot but urge Turkey to reverse its decision.”
Earlier on Saturday, Ankara announced its decision to pull out of the treaty designed to reduce and prevent domestic violence against women. Women’s rights are guaranteed by Turkey’s domestic legislation, Family, Labour and Social Services Minister Zehra Zumrut Selcuk said.
Ankara said it had its own mechanisms to implement laws on safeguarding women against gender-based violence.
The Istanbul Convention is a human rights accord backed by the Council of Europe. Turkey was the first country to ratify the convention, which was adopted in Istanbul in 2011.
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