For the Public’s Attention The Council of Europe’s Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence, known as the Istanbul Convention, to which Turkey is a party, went into effect in 2014. According to this Convention, which is of the utmost importance in combating violence against women and the prevention thereof, an international Committee (GREVIO) charged with monitoring whether or not the party states have met their obligations, will be established. Also in accordance with the Convention, this Committee must be made up of independent experts. The Government, through the Ministry for Family and Social Policy (MFSP), has established a commission to follow the affairs of this process and topropose a candidate from Turkey for the Committee.
The MFSP has ‘appointed’ a total of 9 members to this commission, 6 of whom are public servantsand only 3 of whom are members of ‘civil’ organizations. The nominee, therefore, will neither be independent, nor legitimate, since that nomination will be made by the ‘members appointed by the Government’, very paradoxically, to an international Committe that will monitor the pertinent policies of the very same government. Women’s organizations, that are struggling to eliminate all kinds of discrimination and violence against women and striving for equality and freedom, have been excluded from this process by means of various bureaucratic obstacles. The reckless infringement of this Convention, which also guarantees the participation of women’s organizations, at the very outset of the process is a blow against women’s rights and freedoms. The exclusion of women’s movement, who are the main owners of the issue, and the Government’s intervention as the sole authority to the election process of the Committee (GREVIO), to be established in accordance with the Convention, which forms the basis for the struggle against violence, is in itself an unacceptable form of violence against women. The implementation and monitoring of a Convention established with years long advocacy and efforts of women’s organizations in the World and in Turkey, for combating violence, are of critical importance to women. The effort to nominate a candidate to the Committee, determined solely by the government, goes far beyond an initiative to ‘keep that position under control, too’; it means exacerbating women’s unequal status and breaching all related national and international laws through neglecting policies to struggle against violence, specifically in a country where crimes against women have reached numbers that reflect a communal massacre. For all these reasons, we are asserting and declaring that we do not at all recognize the existing commission, that is solely established by the government. In the event that this mistake is not urgently rectified and if the broad and effective participation of women’s organizations is not ensured, then we will use all available national and international legal means at our disposal.
WOMEN’S COALITION –TURKEY
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