A draft legislative report that calls for the addition of gender-based violence to the list of EU crimes was met with a patronising excuse claiming that this would threaten the concept of national sovereignty.
The report that was discussed at the European Parliament during this week’s plenary debates “condemns, in the strongest possible terms, all forms of gender-based violence, domestic violence and violence against women.”
“It deplores the fact that particularly women and children, in all their diversity, continue to be exposed to intimate partner violence which seriously violates their human rights and dignity,” the report stated.
However, it seems as if not all members of the European Parliament share this same concern of the safety of women and children as some reduced these proposals of protection to “threats to national sovereignty”.
The report also demanded the swift ratification and implementation of the Istanbul Convention at a national and EU level. Meaning that they are calling for all EU member states to ratify the treaty.
And despite the aim being to fully and equally protect women across the EU from violence, the certain groups didn’t take too kindly to the demands. Some even posited that the treaty goes against their constitution and “nothing anyone can do will change that”.
This remark further led to MEPs being instructed to “calm down”.
For some background, the Istanbul Convention drafted a landmark treaty that has been in effect for the past 10 years and only 21 EU member states have ratified the document – including Malta in 2014.
It is the first legally binding instrument at a European level that recognises gender-based violence as a form of discrimination and thus a violation of fundamental human rights.
Yet Bulgaria, Czechia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania and Slovakia still refuse to ratify it – insinuating that the protection of women and LGBTQIA+ persons from domestic violence and femicide isn’t worth their support.
Maltese Commissioner Helena Dalli, on the other hand, fully supports the report.
She further supports the initiative to include hate crimes and hate speech as an EU crime.
This will include such criminal activity on the grounds of race, colour, religion, descent or national or ethnic origin. Along with sex and sexual orientation, disability and age.
This report is a way to treat the protection of women and marginalised communities as a European obligation rather than a national choice.
And the mentality that refuses this and thus puts the idea of national power over these major problems that threaten the lives of women, children, persons with disabilities and LGBTQIA+ individuals only encourages the idea that if you are not a cis-gendered white man, you will always be secondary.
This article is part of a content series called Ewropej. This is a multi-newsroom initiative part-funded by the European Parliament to bring the work of the EP closer to the citizens of Malta and keep them informed about matters that affect their daily lives. This article reflects only the author’s view. The European Parliament is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.
Do you think gender-based violence should be added to the list of EU crimes?