UPSC Daily Editorial Analysis | Istanbul Convention | 24 June 2022

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What the article is about?

  • Talks about the Istanbul Convention and its impact on Ukraine.

Syllabus: GS-II International Relations

Istanbul Convention:

  • Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, better known as the Istanbul Convention, it is the most far-reaching international treaty designed to set legally binding standards for governments in Europe for the prevention, protection, and prosecution of gender-based violence.
    • Until today, Ukraine was one of the 11 countries that had signed but never ratified the Istanbul Convention.
  • Huge step forward for the protection of women and girls from all forms of violence, whether in Ukraine or abroad, could not be more timely for a number of reasons. 

Gender violence:

  • The risk of women becoming victims of gender-based violence in Ukraine has increased immensely over the course of Russia’s eight-year war.
    • In fact, the increasing number of reports that have emerged since the beginning of Russia’s invasion in late February 2022 only suggests that the Russian troops have been using rape and sexual violence as a weapon of war and an instrument of terror to control civilians.
    • Although the Russian authorities have denied alleged sexual abuse by their troops, the truth is that women in Ukraine have been disproportionately affected by the war.
  • Women’s rights activists in Ukraine have long been calling for changes:
    • For instance, domestic violence has been an administrative offence in Ukraine since 2003, which is punishable by a fine, community work of up to 60 hours or imprisonment of up to 15 days.
    • Then in 2019, systematic domestic violence was criminalised, which in practice meant that criminal charges will only be imposed if the abuser commits three offences in a year’.

Impact on Ukraine:

  • The convention’s ratification will not only expand ‘the list of abuse against women punishable by law in Ukraine — including but not limited to psychological abuse, stalking, forced marriage, physical and sexual abuse, forced abortion, sterilisation’ — but also provide the authorities with the opportunity to bring about changes in its legislation and institutional procedures.
  • In furtherance, it will also mean that Ukraine will be responsible for financing more shelters for women, training social workers to adequately handle cases of sexual violence, and increasing resources of assistance available for victims.
  • It will also help in Ukraine’s European integration. Guaranteeing human rights is the most important aspect that is considered when European Union (EU) membership is being extended to a country. 



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