The Istanbul convention ratified on July 21 2022 by the UK government was signed with reservations:.
Article 36 – Sexual violence, including rape
- Parties shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to ensure that the following intentional conducts are criminalised:
- engaging in non-consensual vaginal, anal or oral penetration of a sexual nature of the body of another person with any bodily part or object;
- engaging in other non-consensual acts of a sexual nature with a person;
- causing another person to engage in non-consensual acts of a sexual nature with a third person.
- Consent must be given voluntarily as the result of the person’s free will assessed in the context of the surrounding circumstances.
- Parties shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to ensure that the provisions of paragraph 1 also apply to acts committed against former or current spouses or partners as recognised by internal law.
Article 39 – Forced abortion and forced sterilisation
Parties shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to ensure that the following intentional conducts are criminalised:
- a performing an abortion on a woman without her prior and informed consent;
- b performing surgery which has the purpose or effect of terminating a woman’s capacity to naturally reproduce without her prior and informed consent or understanding of the procedure.
Article 59 – Residence status
- Parties shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to ensure that victims whose residence status depends on that of the spouse or partner as recognised by internal law, in the event of the dissolution of the marriage or the relationship, are granted in the event of particularly difficult circumstances, upon application, an autonomous residence permit irrespective of the duration of the marriage or the relationship. The conditions relating to the granting and duration of the autonomous residence permit are established by internal law.
- Parties shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to ensure that victims may obtain the suspension of expulsion proceedings initi- ated in relation to a residence status dependent on that of the spouse or partner as recognised by internal law to enable them to apply for an autonomous residence permit.
Appendix 2 ► Page 85
- Parties shall issue a renewable residence permit to victims in one of the two following situations, or in both:
- a where the competent authority considers that their stay is necessary owing to their personal situation;
- b where the competent authority considers that their stay is necessary for the purpose of their co-operation with the competent authorities in investigation or criminal proceedings.
- Parties shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to ensure that victims of forced marriage brought into another country for the purpose of the marriage and who, as a result, have lost their residence status in the country where they habitually reside, may regain this status.
After eight years of campaigning, we are delighted to inform you that the Government finally ratified the Istanbul Convention on violence against women on 21 July 2022!
A HUGE thank you for all your help and support to reach this stage!
This is a huge step towards improved support for survivors, access to justice, effective prosecution of perpetrators and gender equality.
Ratification better enshrines women’s right to live free from violence in UK law and provides concrete minimum standards that we can use to hold the Government to account on its approach to violence against women.
Sadly, the Government has retained its reservations on articles 44 and 59. In doing so, it has chosen to ‘opt out’ of key parts of the Istanbul Convention that provide essential protections for women, particularly migrant women. This creates an unfair and unacceptable two-tier system.
We need your help
We are calling on the Government to remove these reservations, and need your help to urge the Government to provide support and protection for all women.
Here’s what we you can do:
Welcome ratification but call on the Government to remove the reservations using our template social media posts in the communications toolkit for organisations.
Continue to work with and support Southall Black Sisters (@SBSisters) and Latin American Women’s Rights Service (@lawrsuk) to advocate for the reservations to be removed. You can follow them on social media to keep up to date on the next steps and how you can support.
For this next phase, we have discussed the different options as a team and with our partner organisations, particularly with Southall Black Sisters and the Latin American Service for Women’s Rights (LAWRS), and decided that it will be best for the next phase of the campaign for the reservations to be removed to be led by migrant women organisations. At IC Change, we do not have the expertise and it is not our place to be the main voice on this.
We will be urging all of the individuals, organisations and parliamentarians who have backed IC Change over the years to support the campaigning work for migrant women’s rights of Southall Black Sisters (@SBSisters) and the Latin American Service for Women’s Rights (@lawrsUK) moving forward. We encourage you to follow them on social media and support them in their ongoing campaigning for migrant women’s rights and safety. Please let us know if you have any questions/concerns.
We thank you, as always, for your support.
Robyn, Kathryn and Lizzie
IC Change campaign