Anna Marias brev till Bulgariens president och premiärminister gällande ratificering av Istanbulkonventionen

Anna Marias brev till Bulgariens president och premiärminister gällande ratificering av Istanbulkonventionen

His Excellency Rumen Radev

President of Bulgaria

 

Mrs Anna Maria Corazza Bildt

Co-rapporteur for the EPP Group on the EU accession to the Istanbul Convention

 

Mrs Christine Revault d’Allonnes-Bonnefoy

Co-rapporteur for the S&D Group on the EU accession to the Istanbul Convention

 

Brussels, the 23 February 2018

 

Your Excellency President Rumen Radev,

We are writing to you today to express our concerns on the decision to freeze the ratification by Bulgaria of the Council of Europe Convention to prevent and combat violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention).

We very much welcomed that the Bulgarian government proposed to the Bulgarian National Assembly the ratification of the Istanbul Convention in January 2018. We deeply regret the recent step backwards.

We would like to reach out to you in order to re-launch the ratification process in Bulgaria as soon as possible.

The European Parliament has adopted a strong resolution in September 2017 calling on the Commission and the Member States, together with the Council of Europe, to initiate an open dialogue with the Member States to clarify the misleading interpretation of the definition of ”gender” in the Convention.

In the framework of this dialogue, the Commissioner for Human rights of the Council of Europe in his letter to the President of the Bulgarian National Assembly, has clarified that ”the Istanbul Convention is about preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence and has no other hidden purposes or effect.”

Despite these efforts, there has been a continued misrepresentation of the Istanbul Convention by some political parties and religious groups, and unfortunately not only in Bulgaria, that has taken away from the debate the focus on combating violence against women and domestic violence, reducing the whole debate on the Istanbul Convention to the definition of gender. 2

There is an urgent need for more clarification and debate in Bulgaria on what the Istanbul Convention really is. Bulgarian citizens shall be put in the condition to understand that the Convention is not against ”Christian values and traditions”, and that on the contrary it protects families, as it combats domestic violence and promotes equality between women and men.

The definition of gender in the Convention is important because it tackles the fact that violence against women is both a cause and a consequence of inequality between women and men, and that the role of women is our society goes beyond the difference of sex. It has to do with combating stereotypes and discrimination against women and girls.

As Co-rapporteurs to the EU accession to the Istanbul Convention, we reiterate the Parliament’s calls on all Member States to ratify the Convention.

We are here to represent all the victims of gender-based violence. We want to join forces to ensure that women and girls in Bulgaria can live free from violence.

We ask you therefore to continue encouraging an open and public debate in Bulgaria, with all actors involved, to clarify that the Convention has no hidden intent or impact, other than preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence in order to re-launch the ratification process with the National Assembly.

The ratification of the Istanbul Convention will truly make a difference in many women’s and girls’ lives.

 

Thank you for your attention and Kind regards,

 

Mrs Anna Maria Corazza Bildt

Mrs Christine Revault d’Allonnes-Bonnefoy

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Mr Boyko Borissov

Prime Minister of Bulgaria

 

Mrs Anna Maria Corazza Bildt

Co-rapporteur for the EPP Group on the EU accession to the Istanbul Convention

 

Mrs Christine Revault d’Allonnes-Bonnefoy

Co-rapporteur for the S&D Group on the EU accession to the Istanbul Convention

 

Brussels, the 23 February 2018

 

Prime Minister Boyko Borissov,

We are writing to you today to express our concerns on the decision to freeze the ratification by Bulgaria of the Council of Europe Convention to prevent and combat violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention).

We very much welcomed that your government proposed to the Bulgarian National Assembly the ratification of the Istanbul Convention in January 2018. We deeply regret this step backwards.

We would like to reach out to you in order to re-launch the ratification process in Bulgaria as soon as possible.

The European Parliament has adopted a strong resolution in September 2017 calling on the Commission and the Member States, together with the Council of Europe, to initiate an open dialogue with the Member States to clarify the misleading interpretation of the definition of ”gender” in the Convention.

In the framework of this dialogue, the Commissioner for Human rights of the Council of Europe in his letter to the President of the Bulgarian National Assembly, has clarified that ”the Istanbul Convention is about preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence and has no other hidden purposes or effect.”

Despite these efforts, there has been a continued misrepresentation of the Istanbul Convention by some political parties and religious groups, and unfortunately not only in Bulgaria, that has taken away from the debate the focus on combating violence against women and domestic violence, reducing the whole debate on the Istanbul Convention to the definition of gender. 2

There is an urgent need for more clarification and debate in Bulgaria on what the Istanbul Convention really is. Bulgarian citizens shall be put in the condition to understand that the Convention is not against ”Christian values and traditions”, and that on the contrary it protects families, as it combats domestic violence and promotes equality between women and men.

The definition of gender in the Convention is important because it tackles the fact that violence against women is both a cause and a consequence of inequality between women and men, and that the role of women is our society goes beyond the difference of sex. It has to do with combating stereotypes and discrimination against women and girls.

As Co-rapporteurs to the EU accession to the Istanbul Convention, we reiterate the Parliament’s calls on all Member States to ratify the Convention.

We are here to represent all the victims of gender-based violence. We want to join forces to ensure that women and girls in Bulgaria can live free from violence.

We ask you therefore to reconsider the decision to freeze the ratification of the Convention and to continue encouraging an open and public debate in Bulgaria, with all actors involved, to clarify that the Convention has no hidden intent or impact, other than preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence.

The ratification of the Istanbul Convention will truly make a difference in many women’s and girls’ lives.

 

Thank you for your attention and Kind regards,

 

Mrs Anna Maria Corazza Bildt

Mrs Christine Revault d’Allonnes-Bonnefoy

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