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Parliament of Ukraine Ratifies Istanbul Convention

Verhovna Rada

The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine supported the ratification of the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence, known as the Istanbul Convention.

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky submitted the bill to the Parliament on 18 June this year.

“The ratification of the Convention will primarily help to raise Ukraine’s political image in the international arena as a country that consistently adheres to its commitments in the field of protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms,” the explanatory note says.

The text of the law states that “Ukraine recognises that the purpose of the Convention is to protect women from all forms of violence, prevent, prosecute and eliminate violence against women and domestic violence, which is also committed against men and children.”

Nothing in this Convention obliges Ukraine to amend the Family Code or the Constitution of Ukraine or other laws on the institutions of marriage, family, and adoption.

The demand for ratification of this document was put forward by some EU member states in a non-public way as a precondition for approving the status of a candidate for EU membership.

Ukraine signed the Istanbul Convention back in 2011, but the document was not ratified due to protests by churches and individual politicians against the term “gender” used in it.

This is the first such document that legally obliges the creation of a legal basis for combating violence against women. Countries that have acceded to the Convention must criminalise psychological violence, harassment, physical and sexual violence, forced marriage, forced abortion, and sterilisation.

Bohdan Marusyak

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