Georgia officially announces ratification of the Istanbul Convention
Georgia has officially joined the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence. This has been announced at the meeting of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, on Friday, 19 May.
The document will take effect on 1 September 2017. This implies that under the assumed commitments, Georgia should criminalize all forms of violence against women, including domestic violence.
Under the Convention, the following forms of violence should be criminalized: psychological and physical violence, sexual violence and rape, stalking, female genital mutilation, forced marriage, forced abortion and forced sterilization.
Georgia has become the 23rd country to have ratified the Convention. The parties to the convention undertake to prevent violence and protect victims. This legal instrument determines all forms of violence against women and sets criminal liability for them.
When taking preventive measures against violence, the parties to the Convention will need to ensure that culture, tradition or so-called ‘honour’ are not regarded as a justification for any of the forms of violence. The parties to the Convention are committed to prevent violence and protect victims, including through granting the police powers to remove a perpetrator from his/her home in situations of immediate danger, setting up a sufficient number of easily accessible shelters and crisis referral centers, and providing free 24/7 helplines.
Parties to the convention are encouraged to apply its protective framework to all victims of violence within the family or domestic unit, including men and boys.
Violence against women and domestic violence are particularly acute problems in Georgia. Thirteen women died as a result of domestic violence in Georgia in 2016 alone, whereas the number of women who suffered bodily injuries in that period exceeded 2,000. According to the Georgian Interior Ministry, 2,877 restrictive orders were issued in 2016, whereas by April 2017 their number increased to 752.