On Wednesday, Montenegro signed “The Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence.” Montenegro was joined by twelve other nations in the initial round of signing, Austria, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Luxembourg, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden and Turkey.
The treaty provisions will have no effect until they are ratified by the parliaments of each signatory nation and the treaty will have no effect in non-signatory nations. Unfortunately, the nations with the worst records of violence against women will simply choose not to sign. These will likely include China, where female babies are routinely murdered, and Islamic nations, where adult women are subject to a wide range of abusive and violent behavior. This treaty is an effort by the Council of Europe (COE), where violence against women is far less accepted.
Much of the treaty is standard government “fluff” which is purposefully impossible to convert into actionable data, but some of the items will require legal changes in some nations. Any nation which bases it’s civil law upon Islamic law, for example, will have issues with section 4.2, which requires states to begin by “embodying in their national constitutions or other appropriate legislation the principle of equality between women and men and ensuring the practical realization of this principle”, as this is in direct conflict with the Qur’an. Turkey, a secular nation with a dominant Muslim majority, took a bold step forward in becoming a signatory to this convention.
This treaty is very broad, in that it covers both state and non-state violence, violence in times of peace and times of war, violence against both citizens and refugees, and violence against both adult females and female children. It also defines “violence” very expansively, in that it includes non-physical forms of violence. Now all the world needs is a similar treaty protecting men.