in the framework of the International day for the elimination of violence against women (25 November 2011)
Freedom from violence should be the first human right. However, millions of women and girls in the world have this right violated every day as they are specifically targeted in the context of war and conflicts, trafficked for the purposes of prostitution, subjected to forced and child marriages, marital rape, so-called ‘honour’ crimes, sexual violence, and other forms of physical and psychological violence.
Violence against women prevents them from conducting a normal life and deprives them of their dignity as human beings. As long as widespread violence against women persists, there cannot be equal opportunities for women and men.
The Parliamentary Assembly calls on national parliaments to strengthen the legal framework to ensure that women who are victims of violence are offered a wide range of protection measures, that deterrent penalties against perpetrators are introduced and effectively enforced, and that action is taken to prevent this plight occurring in the first place.
The Parliamentary Assembly also calls on national parliaments to promote a better understanding of the phenomenon of violence against women, in particular amongst the law enforcement authorities who are called on to implement the relevant law, and to make it clear that, even when it happens within domestic walls, violence against women is never purely a private matter but always one which engages the public interest.
Finally, the Assembly calls on national parliaments to prompt their governments to sign the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, and to ratify it without delay.