Today is the 100th International Women’s Day. The Government has been announcing its latest action plan on violence against women and girls (including some bold promises for increased funding for rape crisis centres) accordingly. But The Times reports that British officials have, in the same moment, been deliberately undermining a draft convention against violence against women at the Council of Europe. Specifically:
Britain objects to the words, “violence against women is understood as a violation of human rights”. Instead, it wants “violence against women constitutes a serious obstacle for women’s enjoyment of human rights”.
Even more damningly, our representatives apparently want the convention to apply only to gendered violence carried out in ‘peacetime’ and not to violations in war. Today’s Home Office announcements make reference to various avenues and promises of international ‘co-operation’, but say nothing about this specific charge. Media reports are similarly silent so far.
This is extraordinary. The timing is brutally ironic, although that is likely down to the Editors at The Times. But why would William Hague and co., newly championing freedoms elsewhere, suddenly seek to undermine international cooperation on this front?