Mr Barroso and Ms Reding, you have 6 months to act on combating Violence Against Women
For International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (VAW) on 25 November 2013, PES Women President Zita Gurmai recalls that it is crucial to prioritise the fight against VAW in view of the upcoming European elections.
The PES, as the Party for Women, gives full priority to this issue, which remains one of the most widespread violations of women’s rights within the European Union today. In Europe, 7 women die every day from male domestic violence.
Despite some achievements, such as the European Protection Order or the so-called Victims’ package, which have both been reinforced and gender-mainstreamed by the Socialists and Social-Democrats in the European Parliament, the eradication of VAW is far from being achieved in the EU today and the EU legislation is too weak. As already recalled last year, the Commissioner for Justice and Fundamental Rights, Viviane Reding (LU, EPP) promised to address the issue but never actually did it. She addressed some aspects of it, such as the protection of the victims or the fight against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), but never put forward a global approach for eradicating VAW, which is yet the only efficient approach. PES Women President Zita Gurmai added: “Ms Reding and Mr Barroso have 6 month left to tackle this issue. It is time for them to show if they are serious about this fundamental question. We, as Socialists and Social-Democrats, are serious and committed to progress on the eradication of VAW. ”
Therefore PES Women reiterates its demands on this International Day. PES Women President Zita Gurmai explains “first of all, I urge once again the European Commission to deliver this comprehensive European strategy on the elimination of violence against women. This strategy is long overdue! It is the European Union role to establish high standards for women’s rights at European level and to pave the way for a Europe freed from Violence Against Women.” Zita Gurmai added: “in order to help get this Strategy, we also call for establishing a European Year dedicated to combat Violence Against Women. This would allow raising awareness on the issue of Violence Against Women at EU level, giving visibility to the NGOs and organisations working on it and also making women victims’ voices heard.”
In addition, PES Women urges the European Union to sign the Council of Europe Convention on Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence, which is the first legally binding instrument in Europe creating a comprehensive legal framework to protect women against all forms of violence. This would send a strong and exemplar sign for all Member States.
Last but not least, PES Women President underlines the necessity of securing all the European budgets and funds on Violence Against Women: “the Conservatives, who only believe in austerity, have been pushing for restricting the 2014-2020 budget (the Multiannual Financial Framework). Without an inclusive gender perspective in the European and national budgets, women’s rights NGOs working on the eradication of Violence Against Women as well as all other Gender equality programmes and bodies, such as the DAPHNE Programme, will be endangered.”