Georgia has officially announced the ratification of the Council of Europe’s Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (the Istanbul Convention).
This took place today during the meeting of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe in Nicosia, Cyprus.
Georgia has become the 23rd country to ratify the Convention which defines and criminalises all forms of violence against women, including domestic violence, which affects women disproportionately.
Parties to the Convention are obliged to prevent violence and protect victims, including through granting the police powers to remove the perpetrator from his or her home in situations of immediate danger, setting up sufficient number of easily accessible shelters and crisis referral centres, and providing free 24/7 specialised helplines.
To give effect to the Convention, state parties will have to introduce a number of new offences where they do not exist. These may include: psychological and physical violence, sexual violence and rape, stalking, female genital mutilation, forced marriage, forced abortion and forced sterilisation. In addition, state parties will need to ensure that culture, tradition or so-called "honour” are not regarded as a justification for any of the above-listed courses of conduct.
"Not only women and girls suffer from domestic violence, so parties to the convention are encouraged to apply its protective framework to all victims of violence within the family or domestic unit, including men and boys”, the Council of Europe said.
One of the most important provisions of the Convention is the establishment of an independent expert group (GREVIO) responsible for monitoring Convention’s implementation by the parties. GREVIO will publish its first observations later this year. As Georgia has only now ratified the convetion, a report on Georgia will be prepared at a later stage.