LGBTI equality and human rights in Europe and Central Asia

Update on the EU and the Istanbul Convention

The European Union’s journey to full ratification of the Istanbul Convention continued today in Strasbourg.

The report on the EU conclusion of the Istanbul Convention was approved by a large majority, with 489 MEPs voting in favour.

The report calls on the European Commission and the Council to:

  • draw up a holistic strategy to combat gender-based violence,
  • to specifically address the needs of vulnerable people, including LBTI women,
  • to actively combat sexism, by promoting gender neutral language, and
  • to include the grounds of sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics within the EU legislation on hate crime.​

Prior to the vote, ILGA-Europe had urged MEPs to ensure that the report was passed without any amendments to the LBTI-specific provisions. 

The Council of Europe’s Istanbul Convention is a vital instrument in the fight against violence against women and girls and a key tool to eradicate gender-based violence. Readers might remember Commissioner Jourova signing the Istanbul Convention on behalf of the EU on 13 June, but those news headlines were not the final part of the story.

The next step in the process towards accession was a vote on the decisions on the EU’s conclusions on the convention. At today’s session in Strasbourg, the report prepared jointly by rapporteurs Anna-Maria Corazza Bildt (for the LIBE committee) and Christine Revault D'allonnes Bonnefoy (of the FEMM committee) was examined by the plenary of MEPs.

As it stands, 14 EU member states have signed the convention but have not yet ratified the text in their own right.