End sexual violence against girls, say PACE General Rapporteurs

Strasbourg, 11.10.2012 – The General Rapporteur on Children of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), Marlene Rupprecht (Germany, SOC), and the PACE General Rapporteur on combating violence against women, José Mendes Bota (Portugal, EPP/CD), today welcomed, in a joint statement, the designation by the United Nations of the International Day of the Girl Child on 11 October of each year with effect from 2012.

Sexual violence is one of the worst forms of violence. While the perpetrators, all too frequently, go unpunished, its victims often take refuge in silence because not only are they afraid, they are also engulfed by a sense of shame and guilt.

Harassment, female genital mutilation, incest, trafficking, forced marriage and others: too many girls around the world continue to suffer from violence in various forms, without any real support.

The general rapporteurs call on members of parliament of the Council of Europe member states to co-operate with all public authorities and non-governmental organisations, in Europe and throughout the world, to enable girls to live free from violence and to facilitate the reporting of the horrors they suffer, so as to ensure effective prevention of the violation of their fundamental rights and to prosecute the perpetrators.

They urge the countries of Europe and beyond to accede to and implement the Council of Europe conventions on the protection of children against sexual exploitation and sexual abuse (Lanzarote Convention) and on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention), the two most comprehensive legally binding international instruments in this field.