PES Women: less impunity, more justice for women’s rights violations

PES Women Executive members exchanging with S&D MEP Evin Incir

EU leaders and politicians globally must step up the fight for safeguarding women’s rights, the PES Women Executive demanded as it met online for its first meeting of 2023.

Words and promises must finally be put into action if Europe wants to protect women from all forms of gender-based violence and discrimination. Internationally, PES Women Executive members call for more accountability.

PES Women President Zita Gurmai said:

“We are looking forward to the adoption of a strong and comprehensive EU Directive to combat violence against women, but we are also still hoping for the parallel adoption by the EU of the Council of Europe Istanbul Convention. Both tools are essential to prevent gender-based violence, protect victims and prosecute perpetrators, who too often get away without punishment.”

The members exchanged with S&D MEP Evin Incir, co-rapporteur on the EU Directive. The proposed Directive – drafted under the leadership of Commissioner Helena Dalli – will criminalise rape based on lack of consent, female genital mutilation (FGM) and cyber violence, including non-consensual sharing of intimate images; cyber stalking; cyber harassment; and cyber incitement to violence or hatred. MEP Evin Incir is working on strengthening the text and to have a progressive outcome of the negotiations. A strong focus should also be put on better data collection on femicides and gender-based violence and to support civil society organisations and help services.

Gurmai added:

“The Directive will provide a clear framework for member states to work within and will ensure that victims and survivors have access to the protection and support they need. We are also counting on the Swedish EU Presidency to push the topic ahead. Following the adoption, implementation is key. We specifically see a lack of law-application in courts.”

PES Women is also calling on international leaders to take stronger action to address the situation of women in countries such as Afghanistan, Iran, and Ukraine, where women’s rights are particularly at risk. In these countries, women and girls face ongoing violence, discrimination, and repression at the hands of state and non-state actors. A gender perspective must be included also at today’s EU-Ukraine Summit and its conclusions. The EU and international leaders should support and earmark specific funds to empower women and girls, including education, legal aid and economic empowerment programmes. Member states should also lower the barriers for women seeking protection in the EU.

PES Women is committed to working with leaders to address the ongoing epidemic of gender-based violence and to bring justice to the victims and survivors of these crimes. PES Women will continue to advocate for the rights of women and girls and to call for action to end impunity for human rights violations against women.

PES Women also exchanged on the juridical trial against Polish women’s rights defender Justyna Wydreynska who is facing up to 3 years in prison. PES Women wants to see all charges against her to be dropped and will follow the next hearing on Monday 6 February closely. Further, PES Women prepared upcoming events, such as its statutory meeting in Valencia together with the PES Committee of the Regions to mark International Women’s Day and the 67th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women in New York City starting on 6 March.

Zita Gurmai

Zita Gurmai

PES Women President