Below are some examples of what it looks like in practice. But what has the Istanbul Convention really done to make a difference so far? According to Balkan Insight, criticism of the convention, which is the strongest in Central and Eastern Europe, and in particular of the far right and national conservatives, has little basis in its content. “With misinformation, populist rhetoric and calls for Christian and Islamic morality, [the critics] have succeeded in transforming a series of essentially guidelines that “create a comprehensive legal framework and approach to combating violence against women” into a sinister attempt by Western Europeans to shift their overly liberal policies to reluctant societies further east.”  The Council of Europe Convention on the Prevention and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence, better known as the Istanbul Convention, is a Council of Europe treaty on human rights against violence against women and domestic violence, which was inaugurated in Istanbul, Turkey, on 11 May 2011. The aim of the convention is to prevent violence, protect victims and end impunity for perpetrators.  Since March 2019, it has been signed by 45 countries and the European Union.  On 12 March 2012 Turkey was the first country, the agreement was ratified, followed by 33 other countries from 2013 to 2019 (Albania, Austria, Croatia, Croatia, Croatia, Croatia, Finland, Estonia, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, Northern Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Portugal, San Marino, Serbia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland).  The convention came into force on August 1, 2014.  In a statement released today on the occasion of the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Violence… The Istanbul Convention is the first legally binding instrument to “establish a comprehensive legal framework and a comprehensive approach to combating violence against women,” focusing on the prevention of domestic violence, the protection of victims and the prosecution of accused offenders.  Zbigniew Ziobro stated that the document, known as the Istanbul Convention, was “harmful” because it required schools to teach children sex. It characterizes violence against women as a violation of human rights and a form of discrimination (art.3 A). Countries should exercise due diligence to prevent violence, protect victims and prosecute perpetrators (Article 5). The convention also contains a definition of sex: for the purposes of the agreement, sex is defined in Article 3, point c), as “the socially constructed roles, behaviours, activities and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for women and men”.
In addition, the treaty provides for a number of offences classified as violence against women. States that ratify the convention must criminalize several crimes, including: psychological violence (Article 33); Harassment (s. 34); physical violence (s. 35); sexual violence, including rape, which explicitly includes all non-consensual sexual acts with a person (s.36), forced marriage (s.37); Female genital mutilation (Article 38), forced abortion and forced sterilization (s. 39). The convention stipulates that sexual harassment must be subject to “criminal or other sanctions” (Article 40). The Convention also contains an article on crimes committed in the name of “honour” (Article 42).  He argued that the convention violated the rights of the parents and contained “ideological elements”.
Several countries have signed the convention but have never ratified it, meaning it has never been implemented.