Your protests count !!! Good news from our violence against women convention campaign

Keywords : Declarations Human and trade union rights

TESTIMONY: A LETTER TO Joel Afolabi Akhator Odigie,
Human and Trade Union Right Coordinator, ITUC-Africa

Dear Akhator Joel,

We’ve a bit of good news today, which we wanted to share with you. It’s about the petition you signed to Lynne Featherstone, asking her to sign the Istanbul Convention.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg announced in a speech in The Hague last night that:
"On the eve of International Women’s Day, I’d like to express the UK’s support for the principles in the Council of Europe’s Convention on Violence against Women and Domestic Violence. A landmark agreement aimed at lifting the standards of protection for women across Europe. We are getting ourselves in a position to sign later this year"

The lack of a UK signature on this document to date has been proving embarrassing, especially given the UK’s current Chair of the Council of Europe, and the government’s stated intent to use that position to make the case internationally for human rights.

We’re still seeking clarification on exactly when and how they’re planning to sign (and exactly how "getting ourselves in a position to sign" means more than just sitting down and pulling a pen out), so will be keeping a close eye on this until we see the colour of their ink on the Convention - but this looks like a very positive development.
So, a happy International Women’s Day and a big thank you to you and the thousands who’ve helped us petition the government so far over this Convention, including the campaign groups End Violence against Women, Forward, Asylum Aid, We Will Speak Out, and Rights of Women.

We’re very glad that this announcement means the UK should soon no longer be standing in the way of internationally agreed measures that could be very useful to people working on problems of violence against women and domestic violence in many other countries.

PS: Scarlet Harris has a longer post on this at Touchstone Blog that you might like to read, where she also discusses the government’s backing for the Convention in the context of cuts for services working on violence against women in the UK.

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ITUC AFRICA