Against gender-based violence in Europe: Istanbul Convention

The Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence – known as the Istanbul Convention – addresses gender-based and domestic violence in Europe and enforces the rights of victims of violence to support and protection. It defines gender-based violence as a human rights violation and a form of discrimination. The Convention entered into force in 2014; Switzerland ratified it in 2017. Civil society plays a significant role in monitoring its implementation.

The four pillars of the Istanbul Convention are prevention, protection, prosecution and coordinated action. It recognises that gender-based violence is structural and an expression of unequal power relations, and that actual and legal gender equality are important to prevention. It further recognises that the safety and needs of victims and witnesses of violence must be at the centre of any protective measures taken. Countries that have ratified the Convention undertake, among other things, to place the protection and rights of victims of violence at the centre of law enforcement and judicial proceedings.

Implementation in Switzerland

We consider the Istanbul Convention an important instrument for combating gender-based violence and achieving gender equality. It is therefore central to our work. Within the framework of the Istanbul Convention Network, which has more than 80 members, we participate in the civil society monitoring of the implementation of the Convention in Switzerland.