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The European Parliament’s Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality met on 21 November to

assess what is the state of the ratification and implementation of the Istanbul Convention at EU and national levels.

The Istanbul Convention is the Council of Europe’s convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence. The Council of Europe is the council for whose members caviare is more important than human rights which claims responsibility for abolishing the death penalty in 1983, after its members had already done so. So why did the special EU Committee devote so much time to an unknown convention, by an irrelevant Council about a topic that already has the attention of everybody in Europe and their nan?

The event is taking place in a year that the EU is especially devoting to prevent and combat violence against women. The signature by the EU of the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (the Istanbul Convention) has been the major milestone of 2017 in the common task of fighting gender-based violence.

The major milestone of 2017? This better be good. So what does the Istanbul Convention aim at? Well, according to the full text, Chapter III – prevention, Article 12 – general obligations, parties to the convention

shall take the necessary measures to promote changes in the social and cultural patterns of behaviour of women and men with a view to eradicating prejudices, customs, traditions and all other practices which are based on the idea of the inferiority of women or on stereotyped roles for women and men.

Article 14 – education:

Parties shall take, where appropriate, the necessary steps to include teaching material on
issues such as equality between women and men, non-stereotyped gender roles, mutual respect, non-violent conflict resolution in interpersonal relationships, gender-based violence against women and the right to personal integrity, adapted to the evolving capacity of learners, in formal curricula and at all levels of education.

Seems to be a bit more than “preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence“. The whole convention is a strange mixture of these incredibly far-reaching articles aimed at societal engineering, rather than protecting women, and articles stating the obvious, such Article 36:

1 Parties shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to ensure that the following
intentional conducts are criminalised:
a engaging in non-consensual vaginal, anal or oral penetration of a sexual nature of the
body of another person with any bodily part or object;
b engaging in other non-consensual acts of a sexual nature with a person;
c causing another person to engage in non-consensual acts of a sexual nature with a third
person.

Surely, all EU member countries had these in place already? Why is this rambling piece of undemocratic legislation, which states the obvious in one case, before overstepping mandates in the next, considered to be such a major milestone? Where is the debate, where is the democratic mandate for these attempts at social engineering?