Solidarity with the ETUCE Member organisation in Turkey, Egitim-Sen



Dear Mister President,


Together with Egitim-Sen - ETUCE member organisation in Turkey - POED calls on you to reverse your decision to pull out of Constantinople Convention on Prevention of Violence against Women and Domestic Violence and reaffirm your international commitment to protect and promote women’s and girls’ human rights and to preserve and defend universal and fundamental values.


POED reminds that the Constantinople Convention stands as the first international agreement recognising violence against women and girls as a human rights violation. The Convention criminalises gender-based violence against women and domestic violence and ensures measures to prevent violence, protect and support victims and witnesses, and prosecute the perpetrators. In 2012, Turkey was the first country to ratify the Convention that was integrated within the national legislative system in compliance with the Turkish constitutional law.


Mr President, your decision comes at a moment when reinforced co-operative efforts to defend human rights of women and girls are urgently needed. Violence against women is one of the most harmful and pervasive challenges of our times. One in three women are victims of physical or sexual violence globally and the phenomenon remains largely underreported. Particularly in Turkey, there is an extreme level of domestic violence and an alarming increase of femicide has been recorded over the last few years. Furthermore, the lockdown measures due to the COVID-19 pandemic have resulted in a further escalation of domestic violence incidents and femicides, leaving victims alone with their perpetrators behind closed doors. This situation is unacceptable. Violence against women is one of the strongest expressions of gender inequality and governments have the responsibility to act in protection of the fundamental rights of women and girls deploying adequate legal means and support and making clear that it is not a private matter.


The Constantinople Convention is an effective legislative tool to empower women and girls and protect their fundamental rights. However, this pull-out means that women and girls will be left without adequate protection from violence and all forms of harassment as Turkey does not have effective national regulations at this scope. The impact will be devasting also in the education sector where cases of violence and harassment on women teachers and girls already occur. The lack of protection from the Constantinople Convention risks leading not only to a rise of violence in schools but also to a higher drop-out rate, pushing girls out of the education system and undermining women and girls' status in all segments of the society.


POED supports the call of Egitim-Sen against the withdrawal from the Constantinople Convention and urges you to preserve and further defend women’s and girls’ vital rights through reconsidering this action.


From POED (Cyprus Greek Teachers Organization)

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