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The Istanbul Convention

Opened for signature in Istanbul in May 2011, the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention) is the first legally-binding instrument in Europe in this field, and in terms of scope, the most far reaching international treaty to tackle this serious violation of human rights.

It aims at zero tolerance for such violence and is a major step forward in making Europe and beyond a safer place. By accepting the Istanbul Convention, governments are obliged to change their laws, introduce practical measures and allocate resources to effectively prevent and combat violence against women and domestic violence.

The Istanbul Convention codifies established standards, jurisprudence and developments at international level, as well as best practice at national level, thereby lending them more weight and ensuring their wider application. Drawing in particular on the framework of measures of the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and case law developed by the CEDAW Committee, it is firmly based on the premise that violence against women cannot be eradicated without investing in gender equality and that in turn, only real gender equality and a change in attitudes can truly prevent such violence.

The Council of Europe has published an intensively detailed comparison between CEDAW and the Istanbul Convention:

Download full Working paper prepared by the Council of Europe Secretariat