Further steps towards full protection of girls and women world-wide

Strasbourg, 02.05.2013 – Reacting to the death on Monday 30 April of a 5 year-old girl who had been raped two weeks earlier in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, the new General Rapporteur on Children of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), Stella Kyriakides (Cyprus, EPP/CD), and PACE General Rapporteur on combating violence against women, José Mendes Bota (Portugal, EPP/CD) declared themselves worried about the fact that full protection of their life and safety is by far not guaranteed to all girls and women throughout the world and that even the most vulnerable members of society cannot be protected in time.

Even in cases where sexual abuse happens in distant countries, the member states of the Council of Europe should not remain silent. In a globalised world, where people become aware of serious crimes occurring elsewhere very rapidly, no one can pretend not to know. To protect girls and women effectively all over the world, such facts must not only be regarded as “news” but as a constant call for action addressed to anyone in a position to do something.

In this context, the exchange of best legislative, political and judicial practice is of crucial importance not only at the European but at the international level. The general rapporteurs once again 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 beyond, to ensure that girls and women may live free from violence. They renew their call to 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), even though legislative action may only be the first step in the prevention of horrible crimes such as the latest ones which occurred in India.