Issues with the Istanbul Convention

Gender Parity UK:

This document takes a close look at some of the most troubling aspects of the ‘Istanbul Convention’. The convention presents a real danger currently and in the future and should under no circumstances be rectified. The convention causes issues regarding their definition of ‘gender’, ‘woman’, ‘violence’ and the term ‘gender-based’. It also erodes restrictions regarding immigration and sex-based discrimination. It openly attacks cultural norms and seeks to ‘eradicate’ them.

Below is a list of quotes from the Istanbul Convention accompanied with commentary on the dangers associated with the quotes.

Definition of ‘Gender’

Istanbul Convention: “gender” shall mean the socially constructed roles, behaviours, activities and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for women and men;”

Problem: 

  • It insinuates that a man who has ‘female’ hobbies and behaviors is a woman and vice versa
  • It paves the way for highly controversial views on transgenderism to be taught in all levels of education 
  • it ignores biological aspects of gender roles (differences in strength, personality traits, reproductive reality) which lead to different outcomes in choices, behaviors, activities, and attributes
  • “a given society considers appropriate for women and men” is highly subjective and differs from community to community within a society
  • This convention is due to its gendered nature promoting gendered views and false stereotypes (women = victims, men = perpetrators) and even prohibits to challenge these views with data that proves that men are just as often victims of domestic abuse as women.

Dangerous definition of ‘Violence’

Istanbul Convention: “violence against women” is understood as a violation of human rights and a form of discrimination against women and shall mean all acts of gender-based violence that result in, or are likely to result in, physical, sexual, psychological or economic harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life;”

Let’s read this sentence again:

violence against women” is understood as a form of discrimination against women and shall mean all acts of gender-based violence that … are likely to result in … psychological or economic harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, …whether occurring in public or in private life

Threats of acts that are likely to cause psychological suffering can be, (depending on the mental stability of a person) almost ANYTHING.

Examples of ‘Violence against Women’ under this definition:

  • Man says:‘ I don’t like your haircut’ 
  • Man says: ‘I’m breaking up with you’ 
  • Man losing his job would be ‘violence against women’ if it is likely to result in economic suffering to the woman.
  • A man talking about quitting his job would be ‘violence against women’ if it is likely to result in psychological or economic suffering to the woman.

Definition of ‘Woman’

Istanbul Convention: ““women” includes girls under the age of 18.”

Examples of ‘Violence against Women’ under this definition:

  • Father says: ‘You can’t have a pony’
  • Father says: ‘Go to your room’
  • Father restricting daughters access to Internet
  • Father losing his job would be ‘violence against women’ if it is likely to result in economic suffering to the daughter.

Deconstruction of Cultural Norms

Istanbul Convention:”Parties shall take the necessary measures to promote changes in the social and cultural patterns of behaviour of women and men with a view to eradicating prejudices, customs, traditions and all other practices which are based on the idea of the inferiority of women or on stereotyped roles for women and men.”

 Istanbul Convention:”Parties shall ensure that culture, custom, religion, tradition or so-called “honour” shall not be considered as justification for any acts of violence covered by the scope of this Convention.”

Problem : 

  • “Parties shall take the necessary measures to promote changes in the social and cultural patterns of behaviour of women and men with a view to eradicating customs, traditions and all other practices which are based on stereotyped roles for women and men.” This sentence advocates for the intentional and direct destruction and abolishment of almost all cultures, especially traditional cultures. The word ERADICATED is used!
  • The second quote would be positive, unless, and that is the case, “violence covered by the scope of this convention” is a very broad concept that includes violence against women” is understood as a form of discrimination against women and shall mean all acts of gender-based violence that … are likely to result in … psychological or economic harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, …whether occurring in public or in private life  Many cultures and religions have norms that are consensual and absolutely non-abusive but theoretically fall under the definition of ‘violence covered by the scope of this convention’.
  • The cultural integrity of countries and of communities needs to be protected from social engineering enforced by the UN and ideological extremists, as long as it is in accordance with the law of the land which protects freedom of religious expression.

‘Equality’ for women, not for men

Istanbul Convention:The implementation of the provisions of this Convention by the Parties, in particular measures to protect the rights of victims, shall be secured without discrimination on any ground SUCH AS SEX, gender, race, colour, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a national minority, property, birth, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, state of health, disability, marital status, migrant or refugee status, or other status …

Special measures that are necessary to prevent and protect women from gender-based violence shall not be considered discrimination under the terms of this Convention..”

  • The convention explicitly opposes discrimination unless it favors women and discriminates against men. This truly is doublespeak and highlights that this convention is not promoting equality, but gender-exclusive privileges based on an anti-male bias
  • ‘Special measures’ have been in place for the protection of women for a long time and this has led to immense negative effect on male victims in terms of recognition,  support, fair treatment and  their ability to speak up.

Istanbul Convention:Parties shall undertake to include a gender perspective in the implementation and evaluation of the impact of the provisions of this Convention and to promote and effectively implement policies of equality between women and men and the empowerment of women.”

  • Policies that are ‘gendered’ lead indivertibly to gender discrimination. The empowerment of women (and girls) leads already to a lack of support for men and boys as evident in the educational system

Istanbul Convention:The purposes of this Convention are to contribute to the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women and promote substantive equality between women and men, including by empowering women”

Istanbul Convention:Parties are encouraged to apply this Convention to all victims of domestic violence. Parties shall pay particular attention to women victims of gender-based violence in implementing the provisions of this Convention.”

  •  “the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women”  Discrimination has two definitions :
  • the unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people, especially on the grounds of race, age, sex, or disability.
  • recognition and understanding of the difference between one thing and another.

Often perceived ‘discrimination’ is portrayed as being based on definition 1, when it can really be explained by definition 2. Example: ‘Gender Wage Gap’. The “elimination of all forms of discrimination against women” leads to social engineering and discrimination against men though ‘women only shortlists’ and ‘affirmative action’ which is not available for men in areas where men are underrepresented.

  • promote substantive equality between women and men” ‘Equality’ is not defined and can therefor never be achieved unless there is absolute equity (not equality) in all areas of life. This is – of course – impossible in a democracy and is more akin to a communist dictatorship. This is not hyperbolic. How often has the goalpost of ‘equality’ been moved and has there ever been efforts to create equality in areas, where men are suffering?
  • “substantive equality between women and men, including by empowering women” To quote Orwell: “ Some animals are more equal”. A society cannot become more eqal, when only one part of society receives ‘empowerment’. Fathers that fight for access to see their children, homeless men and male victims of sexual abuse could use ‘empowerment’ too, not to mention boys in education, especially white working class boys at the moment.
  • “Parties shall pay particular attention to women victims of gender-based violence” Female victims of Domestic Abuse receive 99% of funding; male victims receive 1%, despite being over 35% of victims. Male victims are also 3 times less likely to report the abuse, which begs the question why there should be more “particular attention to women victims”.

Istanbul Convention:  “Parties shall take the necessary legislative and other measures to promote and protect the right for everyone, particularly women, to live free from violence in both the public and the private sphere. “

  • Particularly women” intentionally creates a victim hierarchy, which we have already seen in practice for many years. This Convention has done nothing to promote a life free from violence for men. In fact, the opposite is the case, since it forces a gendered focus on legislation and service provision.

Demonization of Men/Boys

Istanbul Convention:“Recognising that violence against women is a manifestation of historically unequal power relations between women and men, which have led to domination over, and discrimination against, women by men and to the prevention of the full advancement of women;”

Istanbul Convention:” Recognising the structural nature of violence against women as gender-based violence, and that violence against women is one of the crucial social mechanisms by which women are forced into a subordinate position compared with men;”

 Istanbul Convention:“Parties shall take the necessary measures to encourage all members of society, especially men and boys, to contribute actively to preventing all forms of violence covered by the scope of this Convention.”

Problem:

  •  “women are forced into a subordinate position compared with men” This does not reflect UK/Western culture and promotes a false depiction of our egalitarian society. Men as a group do not force women as a group in a subordinate position. Quite the opposite is the case.
  • Men endured historical suffering such as dying in war, working in mines, building and protecting society. Women and men were both ‘oppressed’ by circumstance, nature and social status, not by each other for the most part.
  • especially men and boys, to contribute actively to preventing all forms of violence…”  Men AND BOYS are collectively held accountable and responsible for the protection of women. This REINFORCES gender stereotypes and norms, which this convention allegedly seeks to abolish.
  • Men and boys are depicted as oppressive, dominating, discriminating, upholding a structure that subordinates women  while simultaneously demanding of men AND BOYS to protect women (not themselves) from all forms of violence, which will put their own lives at times in danger.
  • These negative gender stereotypes are being taught in school in accordance with this convention

Dangerous Ideological Views

  • The language used in the convention and the views represented are based on ideology and explicitly feminist ‘research’. This ‘research’ is based on assumptions and does not follow the scientific method in almost all cases. ‘Research’ usually excludes male victims and is conducted

Istanbul Convention: “Parties shall ensure that measures taken pursuant to this chapter shall … be based on a gendered understanding of violence against women and domestic violence and shall focus on the human rights and safety of the victim;”

  • This puts this convention firmly on an ideological foundation, which forces research, implementation, education, training, media coverage and all other sectors mentioned in this document to IGNORE and actively AVOID neutral, science based approaches.

Istanbul Convention:Recognising that violence against women is a manifestation of historically unequal power relations between women and men, which have led to domination over, and discrimination against, women by men and to the prevention of the full advancement of women;

  • violence against women is a manifestation of historically unequal power relations between women and men” this statement is mostly untrue with the exception of grooming gangs and culturally specific issues like FGM and Forced Marriage. Most sexual violence and domestic abuse is not based on historically unequal power relations but on antisocial behavior of individuals often connected to addiction, childhood trauma, alcohol and often goes hand in hand with other antisocial behavior.
  • which have led to domination over, and discrimination against, women by men” The history of mankind is depicted as one of gender-based oppression instead of collaboration which is arguably false. Historic gender roles were mostly informed by lack of contraception, physical differences and medical necessities, not patriarchal domination and discrimination
  • “…the prevention of the full advancement of women” The argument, that violence against women prevents the full advancement of women is a ridiculous statement if applied to the UK in this century. It is, for example, incorrect, that female MPs receive more online attacks and threats. It is , in fact, male MPs, (especially Tory MPs) that receive the vast majority of threats, including death threats and also gendered insults. But it is true that is female MPs who are complaining about abuse despite receiving less than their male counterparts. It can be argued that the exaggerated portrayal of women as victims prevents the full advancement of women.
  • By signing the convention, the UK would agree with this false statement

Istanbul Convention:Recognising the structural nature of violence against women as gender-based violence, and that violence against women is one of the crucial social mechanisms by which women are forced into a subordinate position compared with men;

  • The convention produces no examples or evidence for the “structural nature of violence against women “ or the claim that women are “forced into a subordinate position compared with men”
  • Both claims are categorically and evidently false in the UK and most European countries
  • By signing the convention, the UK would agree with this false statement

Istanbul Convention:Recognising, with grave concern, that women and girls are often exposed to serious forms of violence … which constitute a serious violation of the human rights of women and girls and a major obstacle to the achievement of equality between women and men;”

  • Amnesty International: “Women’s rights are human rights! We are all entitled to human rights.”
  • Global Fund  for Women: Women have the right to live free from violence, slavery, and discrimination; to be educated; to own property; to vote; and to earn a fair and equal wage.”
  • We would assume that these human rights should apply to both genders. They are therefore not human rights of women and girls, but simply Human Rights
  • women and girls are often exposed to serious forms of violence … which constitute…a major obstacle to the achievement of equality between women and men”  Men are far more often exposed to serious forms of violence, especially being assaulted and killed. If men are more often victims of serious forms of violence, how is it a “major obstacle to the achievement of equality between women and men”. A focus on violence experienced by men would arguably be more in line with ‘equality’

Istanbul Convention:Recognising that women and girls are exposed to a higher risk of gender-based violence than men;”

  • This is a nonsensical and circular argument! In this document, gender-based violence is defined as: ““gender‐based violence against women” shall mean violence that is directed against a woman because she is a woman or that affects women disproportionately;”
  • The convention highlights multiple times ,that parties signing the convention have to agree that violence covert under this convention is per definition ‘disproportionally affecting women’, even if data would prove that this is not the case.
  • There is dramatic underreporting by male victims in regards to sexual assault, rape and domestic abuse. Independent and gender-neutral/inclusive research shows that men and women experience sexual and domestic abuse in similar numbers.

Istanbul Convention: “Recognising that domestic violence affects women disproportionately and that men may also be victims of domestic violence;”

This Convention shall apply to all forms of violence against women, including domestic violence, which affects women disproportionately.”

  • The academic study “Rates of Bidirectional Versus Unidirectional Intimate Partner Violence Across Samples, Sexual Orientations, and Race/Ethnicities: A Comprehensive Review” clearly shows that domestic abuse does not predominantly affect women.
  • In the UK approx. 20% of reported cases of Domestic Abuse have a male victim, yet male victims are proven to be 3 times less likely to report their abuse. This also indicates gender-parity in regards to DA. Women are more likely to be killed (3 to 1) but men are more likely to commit suicide due to DA.
  • “…and that men may also be victims of domestic violence;” Definition of the word ‘may’: “expressing possibility”. Well, it is not a possibility that men may be victims of domestic abuse, men are victims of domestic abuse. The language used in this convention clearly indicates that men do not experience discrimination and that it is highly unlikely that men experience intimate/ gender-based violence. This is a false gender stereotype and perpetuates the fact that male victims are invisible, overlooked and reluctant to talk about their experience, which seems to be the aim of this convention.

Istanbul Convention:Aspiring to create a Europe free from violence against women and domestic violence,”

 “The purposes of this Convention are to… protect women against all forms of violence, and prevent, prosecute and eliminate violence against women and domestic violence;”

  • Statements like these are not based in reality and only have the goal to justify the existence of this convention until no woman in Europe ever experiences hardship or violence. Which will- of course- never be the case, as long as there are women in Europe. This is often used as an excuse why there is no support/focus on male victims. Because there are still women suffering.

Open Borders for Women

Istanbul Convention: “Article 60 – Gender-based asylum claims – 1 Parties shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to ensure that gender-based violence against women may be recognised as a form of persecution within the meaning of Article 1, A (2), of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and as a form of serious harm giving rise to complementary/subsidiary protection”

  • The definition of ‘gender-based violence’ in this convention is so broad, that all women and girls from different cultures that have gender norms could claim persecution and become refugees.

Istanbul Convention: “Article 61 – Non-refoulement

1 Parties shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to respect the principle of non-refoulement in accordance with existing obligations under international law.

2 Parties shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to ensure that victims of violence against women who are in need of protection, regardless of their status or residence, shall not be returned under any circumstances to any country where their life would be at risk or where they might be subjected to torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

  • Most of the statement is sensible, but vague and open terms and guidelines were hidden to be used for ‘open immigration’. Women that committed heinous crimes could not be returned to their country of origin if they would face ‘degrading treatment or punishment’

Dangerous Phrases

Istanbul Convention: “ Parties shall take the necessary legislative and other measures to prevent all forms of violence covered by the scope of this Convention by any natural or legal person.”

  • Taking “necessary legislative and other measures to prevent all forms of violence”. This is a free pass to infringe on human rights to PREVENT crime. The prevention of crime can lead to surveillance of innocent citizens, restriction of movement and unfair trials.

Istanbul Convention: “Parties condemn all forms of discrimination against women and take, without delay, the necessary legislative and other measures to prevent it…”

  • How is ‘discrimination’ defined? Differences in outcomes are often not discrimination but are being called discrimination by interest groups. Legislation to correct different outcomes is often direct discrimination. The exclusive focus on discrimination against women leads to discrimination against men.

Istanbul Convention: Parties shall refrain from engaging in any act of violence against women and ensure that State authorities, officials, agents, institutions and other actors acting on behalf of the State act in conformity with this obligation.”

  • This would criminalise to arrest women, to incarcerate them and to hold them accountable for crimes they committed. We can already see this happening. Female offenders receive 60% shorter sentences for the same crime compared to men and there is a push to abolish womens prisons. There is also a much greater focus on rehabilitation and support for female offenders, even though the vast majority of incarcerated are male

Istanbul Convention: Parties shall take the necessary legislative and other measures to exercise due diligence to prevent, investigate, punish and provide reparation for acts of violence covered by the scope of this Convention that are perpetrated by non-State actors.”

  • Why should the government provide reparations for crimes committed by none-state actors? Victimhood should not be a lucrative business.

A Network of Lobbyists and Gendered Research

Istanbul Convention: “Parties shall designate or establish one or more official bodies responsible for the co-ordination, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policies and measures to prevent and combat all forms of violence covered by this Convention. These bodies shall co-ordinate the collection of data as referred to in Article 11, analyse and disseminate its results.”

  • Individuals with a gendered focus are given power to implement this convention
  •  These partisan people are to “co-ordinate the collection of data …, analyse and disseminate its results”. This creates intentionally gendered and bias data, which can only re-enforce the ideological views of the convention without any body to scrutinize it.

Istanbul Convention: “… collect disaggregated relevant statistical data at regular intervals on cases of all forms of violence covered by the scope of this Convention;”

  • This creates a huge amount of gendered data that re-enforces an ideological approach. It is impossible to assess the impact of these crimes on men and LGBT victims if the research has a female victim/male perpetrator focus, which it does.

Istanbul Convention: “…support research in the field of all forms of violence covered by the scope of this Convention in order to study its root causes and effects, incidences and conviction rates, as well as the efficacy of measures taken to implement this Convention”

  • The organisations conducting the research are ideology driven, just like this convention. The ‘research’ is exclusively used to support ideological claims. It is similar to letting the thief do the investigation of the theft he committed.

Istanbul Convention: “Parties shall recognise, encourage and support, at all levels, the work of relevant non-governmental organisations and of civil society active in combating violence against women and establish effective co-operation with these organisations.

  • These organisations are often lobby groups with political power already heavily financed by the government.  

Istanbul Convention: “Parties shall encourage the private sector, the information and communication technology sector and the media, with due respect for freedom of expression and their independence, to participate in the elaboration and implementation of policies and to set guidelines and self-regulatory standards to prevent violence against women and to enhance respect for their dignity..”

  • This is more akin to social engineering and is reminiscent to indoctrination in communist countries. ‘self-regulatory standards’ encouraged by legislation is one step away from direct propaganda.

Istanbul Convention: “Article 66 –Group of experts on action against violence against women and domestic violence. The Group of experts on action against violence against women and domestic violence (hereinafter referred to as “GREVIO”) shall monitor the implementation of this Convention by the Parties. GREVIO shall be composed of a minimum of 10 members and a maximum of 15 members, taking into account a gender and geographical balance, as well as multidisciplinary expertise.”

“…they should represent relevant actors and agencies in the field of violence against women and domestic violence;”

  • ‘Experts’ in the fields of Violence against Women and Girls are almost exclusively working based on gendered ideology. This creates an ideological echo chamber.
  • There are currently 3 male and 12 female members. So much for gender balance.
  • they should represent relevant actors and agencies in the field of violence against women “ This convention is written by lobby groups for lobby groups. The convention will be implemented by representatives of the same lobby groups controlled by an ‘independent group’ that represents the same lobby groups. There is no accountability and no way to challenge the ideological approach of these interest groups.

GREVIO – Incestuous research

Istanbul Convention: “Parties shall submit to the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, based on a questionnaire prepared by GREVIO, a report on legislative and other measures giving effect to the provisions of this Convention, for consideration by GREVIO.”

“When adopting a questionnaire for each evaluation round, GREVIO shall take due consideration of the existing data collection and research in the Parties as referred to in Article 11 of this Convention.”

GREVIO shall prepare a draft report containing its analysis concerning the implementation of the provisions on which the evaluation is based, as well as its suggestions and proposals concerning the way in which the Party concerned may deal with the problems which have been identified.”

  • This is a closed system that is not being scrutinized by balanced, external oversight. The approach of GREVIO (and the Istanbul Convention) cannot be monitored and bias within the system is unchallenged.

Istanbul Convention: Without prejudice to the procedure of paragraphs 1 to 8, the Committee of the Parties may adopt, on the basis of the report and conclusions of GREVIO, recommendations addressed to this Party (a) concerning the measures to be taken to implement the conclusions of GREVIO, if necessary setting a date for submitting information on their implementation, and (b) aiming at promoting co-operation with that Party for the proper implementation of this Convention.”

  • The parties cannot question the incestuous process by which the data and recommendations are produced or the approach recommended. Convenient!

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