What is the Istanbul Convention about?
Lawyer Shamil Pashayev
What is the Istanbul Convention about?
The Convention was adopted at the meeting of the Council of Europe on May 11, 2011 in Istanbul, Turkey. The Convention on the Prevention and Combating of Violence against Women and Domestic Violence entered into force on 1 August 2014. Of the 47 member states of the Council of Europe, 34 have ratified the Convention, while Russia and Azerbaijan have not yet joined.
The Convention is a document in the field of prevention and combating domestic violence.
The scope of the Convention applies to all forms of violence against women disproportionately affected by women.
The document provides not only for the protection of the violated rights of victims, but also for preventive measures to prevent women from becoming victims. The Convention also emphasizes the need to eliminate stereotypes about the role of women and men in society, to eliminate mental attitudes, and to promote changes in social and cultural behavior.
The State Committee for Family, Women and Children Affairs of Azerbaijan said in a statement on October 21 that a package of proposals for the signing of the Istanbul Convention has already been submitted to the government. On October 22, the Milli Majlis ratified the Council of Europe Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Violence (Lanzarotta Convention). This convention is an important document for the protection of children's rights.
Will the adoption of the Convention solve the problems?
Most of the provisions of the much-discussed Istanbul Convention are contained in Azerbaijani legislation. Our country adopted the Law on Ensuring Gender Equality in 2006, the Law on Prevention of Domestic Violence in 2010, and the implementation mechanisms of the law in 2011 and 2012 were approved by the Cabinet of Ministers. At the same time, in order to implement paragraph 22.214.171.124 of the "Action Plan for the implementation of the State Program on Poverty Reduction and Sustainable Development in the Republic of Azerbaijan in 2008-2015 (2011-2015)" Gender violence in local executive authorities and monitoring groups for violence against children.
In other words, there are still ample opportunities in the Azerbaijani legislation to combat domestic violence. Therefore, it is necessary to emphasize once again that, as in all areas, it is important that any legal document adopted in this area is valid, and that those who will work with this document respect human rights and freedoms.
Statistics show that even in European countries where the law is in force, women's rights are violated, and such cases are more common than in Eastern countries. The fact that people in Europe have not experienced any discomfort in publicizing and resolving their crimes at the same time, as well as a strong belief in the judiciary, makes the statistics on the problems in this area clearer. In Eastern countries, mental and religious values, as well as problems in the legal system, do not allow to see the statistics clearly. Therefore, it would be naive to think that the signing of the Convention will solve all the problems in a short time. It is equally important to understand and follow the content of the Convention before it is adopted.
In the current situation, it is impossible to expect law enforcement and judicial authorities to work professionally with the Convention. Because we have not formed the system of "Juvenile Justice" and "Juvenile Court", which has already become a practice in Europe. One of the important conditions is the transition to a "juvenile justice" system, as well as the organization of specialized regional family courts. It is also important to form a separate structure on family issues in law enforcement agencies, to conduct trainings for employees who will work here, and to envisage positions such as teachers, doctors and psychologists in these structures. There is a need to establish a special “for victims” call and on-site examination service, and to specialize those who will work with victims of sexual violence.
In the absence of all this, the number of crimes against women in neighboring Turkey, which has joined the Istanbul Convention, is constantly increasing. We do not hear the words "there are no cases of violence against women after joining the Convention" in the 37 countries that have joined the Convention. This suggests that the approach to the Convention will solve many things after its adoption.
The role of media and propaganda
It cannot be said that violence against women is widespread in Azerbaijan. Because she is a woman, she is not subjected to violence because of her behavior or appearance in public. Women are usually victims of domestic violence, as well as crimes of honor. The honor of a woman who is a member of the family, and in some cases even property