Today marks the anniversary of opening for signature of the Istanbul Convention.

The Istanbul Convention is an international treaty to help tackle violence against women and girls. It is very important for women and girls with disabilities as, on average, they are 2 to 5 times more likely to face violence than other women and girls.


The Convention recognises the forms of violence faced by women and girls with disabilities (such as forced sterilisation for example) and gives the tools to combat violence and support victims with disabilities. You can find more information on the Convention and how to use it on our dedicated webpage.

The Convention after the signature

  • 36 European countries have ratified the Convention.
  • 12 European countries and the European Union have not ratified the Convention.
  • Turkey has withdrawn from the Convention – this means it has decided to not be a State Party anymore.
  • Organisations of women and girls with disabilities have reported to the Group of Experts in charge of monitoring of the Convention on violence against women and girls with disabilities in their country.

5 reasons why the EU should ratify the Istanbul Convention

EDF calls on the European Union (EU) and its countries to protect all women and girls with disabilities from violence and abuse, including forced sterilization by ratifying the Istanbul Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence.

  1. Violence against women affects over 250 million of European women and girls, having physical and mental consequences in the present and also in the future
  2. Women with disabilities are between 2 and 5 times more likely than women without disabilities to suffer violence. They are subjected to sterilization and abortions against their will, especially when they are segregated in institutions
  3. For the women and girls with disabilities, is more difficult to have access to justice, support and protection services due the legal and other type of barriers. For example, when they go to institutions, it turns impossible to access to those services.
  4. Implementing the Istanbul Conventions will benefit women’s lives in Europe including the ones that have disabilities, showing the EU’s strong commitment to end with women’s violence
  5. Ratification will contribute to the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) and the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). In those agreements, all EU States have ratified and also in UNCRPD the EU has done the same