That gender violence is a Eurocrime. This is what the European Parliament has requested this Thursday, without the vote of Pablo Casado’s Popular Party and the opposition of Vox and the rest of the extreme right. Thus, once the report is approved in plenary, the European Commission should present a directive that establishes minimum standards and common definitions in all EU countries that comply with the EU’s commitments in the Istanbul Convention. The final result has been: 427 votes in favor, 119 against and 140 abstentions – the majority of the European PP. Among the votes against is, along with those of the ultraconservatives and the extreme right, that of an MEP popular, Pilar Benjumea.
According to European Parliament statistics, one in three women in the EU has experienced physical and / or sexual violence. Around fifty women are murdered each year in episodes of gender violence, while 75% of women in the professional environment declare that they have suffered sexual harassment.
In the opinion of MEPs, European regulations must include the standards of the Istanbul Convention – which is not signed by the 27 Member States – which includes the definition of a violation as lack of consent; support protection and reparation services for victims; o specific measures for all forms of violence based on gender or gender identity, as well as sexual abuse and exploitation. However, the final decision will be in the governments of the 27 member states, where the necessary unanimity on the matter is expected to be complicated.
MEPs also denounce femicide as the most extreme form of gender violence against women and girls and emphasize that the denial of legal and safe abortion is also a form of gender violence. They recall in this regard that the European Court of Human Rights has ruled on several occasions that restrictive legislation on abortion and the lack of enforcement violate the human rights of women.
They also add that violations of sexual and reproductive rights, including sexual, gynecological and obstetric violence and harmful practices, constitute a form of gender-based violence against women and girls, as well as against transgender and non-binary people.
The resolution emphasizes the adverse personal, social and economic consequences of gender violence and reiterates that the situation has been exacerbated by the pandemic, with increases of up to 60% in emergency calls from women victims of violence by your partner or ex-partner. The confinement also made it difficult to find help, aggravating a “shadow pandemic”, the MEPs lament.
The text also affirms that the lack of confidence of the victims in the police authorities and the judicial system contributes in an important way to the underreporting. To combat it and also avoid double victimization, it calls on the Member States to improve the resources and training of doctors, policemen, judges, forensics and other professionals who deal with victims of gender-based violence.
The MEPs report calls for gender-based violence to be added to the list of cross-border crimes in the EU, which would provide the legal basis for a directive that also addresses issues related to criminal law. Currently, the offenses included in Article 83 of the EU Treaty are the following: terrorism, human trafficking and sexual exploitation of women and children, illicit drug trafficking, illicit arms trafficking, money laundering, corruption, counterfeiting of means of payment, crime computer science and organized crime.
The consequence of this is that, once a crime is included in that list, the European Parliament and the Council – the governments, albeit unanimously – can establish through directives “minimum standards relating to the definition of criminal offenses and sanctions in criminal areas that are of particular gravity and have a cross-border dimension derived from the nature or repercussions of said offenses or from a particular need to combat them according to common criteria “.
The vote came 24 hours after the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, announced a European law on gender violence, without specifying its content. “The announcement by the president of the Commission that she will propose a law to combat violence against women, including effective prosecution, is a great victory for all women,” said the president of the Socialists in the European Parliament, Iratxe García : “Also for the Social Democrats, since we have been asking for many years for this crime to be recognized in European legislation. Parliament votes on a report to identify gender-based violence as a new criminal area listed in Article 83 of the EU Treaty and, surprisingly, there are still some groups in this House against it. This shows that there is still a lot of work to be done to raise awareness and change mindsets. ”
“Gender violence must be prosecuted throughout the EU equally. Because of its seriousness, because of its cross-border dimension and because we will only end it with common measures,” said the head of the Podemos delegation, María Eugenia Rodríguez Palop. : “Governments and lobbies Deniers will try to avoid it. It is incomprehensible that crimes against women are considered less serious than crimes such as corruption or cybercrime, which are prosecuted in the EU in a more homogeneous, coordinated and resourceful manner “.
Diana Riba MEP (Greens / ERC), rapporteur for the report – together with Malin Bjork, from The Left – states: “Parliament’s message is clear. We need more and better tools to combat gender-based violence. We ask for common legal definitions , standards and minimum penalties across the Union. It is time to act to include gender-based violence in the list of European crimes, and to present a comprehensive directive to combat one of the most serious and persistent human rights violations in Europe. the history of mankind “.
The MEP popular Rosa Estarás was in charge of criticizing the report, in particular for the fact that the text considers violence against women the obstacles to abortion “legal and safe” as occurs in countries like Poland.
Meanwhile, the far right voted against. Vox MEP Margarita de la Pisa spoke of “the tyranny of single thought and social engineering.”
Brussels support to Spain
The European Commissioner for Equality, Helena Dalli, highlighted the “significant progress” of LGTBIQ rights in Spain, but warned that “you can never lower your guard” because the rejection of people from the group persists.
“We must be all eyes and always be vigilant because, despite the progress made in several countries, such as Spain and Malta for example, there are still people who are not accepted,” Dalli warned in a conversation during the plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg (France) with various Spanish media, including Efe.
Likewise, the head of the European equality portfolio stressed that the Spanish Government has shown that the fight against sexist and domestic violence is a “priority” on its agenda and celebrated the “determination” of Spain to end gender inequality.
Dalli wanted to recall that the Community Executive is working on the legislative proposal to prevent and combat gender violence, which will be presented at the end of this year and will allow the EU to have its own legislation on this matter to “reinforce the measures of protection of women “.
“Not all member states have ratified the Istanbul Convention (against sexist violence). So, together with this proposal, we will also continue trying to finalize the EU’s accession to the convention. But that is proving very difficult,” he acknowledged.
The six EU countries that have not yet ratified the Convention are Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Bulgaria, although they have all signed it, as has the European Union as a whole. Poland, which is among those who have ratified it, is threatening to leave, as did Turkey.
Dalli also claimed that “trans women are women” and stressed that there is “no doubt about it.” The roadmap to fight LGTBIQ discrimination in the EU between 2020 and 2025 presented by the European Commission last year includes among its objectives to improve the “recognition of transgender and non-binary people, and of intersex people.”
“I am aware of the increase in the number of reported hate crimes and, as I always say, we can never lower our guard against hate and discrimination,” he concluded.