AUCCIRO offers practical steps instead of ratifying the Istanbul Convention
Practical proposals of the religious community aimed at countering domestic violence are set out in a letter from the Chairman of the AUCCIRO, Metropolitan Epifaniy, Primate of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, addressed to the Prime Minister of Ukraine, according to the website of the AUCCIRO.
This was reported by the Institute for Religious Freedom.
Instead of ratifying the Istanbul Convention, we call for the development of national legislation in Ukraine to counter domestic violence and violence against women, as do other European countries that have also refused to ratify this Convention (UK, Liechtenstein, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Bulgaria, Moldova, Armenia).
In order to develop an effective framework to counter the problem of violence and domestic violence, the Council of Churches proposes to take several practical steps:
- to set up a working group consisting of professional lawyers, which can be joined by representatives of the AUCCIRO to improve national legislation;
- to hold dialogue meetings of representatives of human rights circles and the religious environment for a reasoned study of the shortcomings of the proposed document and develop a common position;
- to get practical consequences in the form of improved or updated national legislation, which will then be monitored in the context of practical implementation in all regions of Ukraine, where representatives of the AUCCIRO will be happy to join.
According to religious figures, the key disadvantage of the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (known as the Istanbul Convention) is the problematic interpretation of the concept of ‘gender’, which carries risks of distorting the essence of state gender policy, which is currently defined by the Law of Ukraine “On ensuring equal rights and opportunities for women and men”.
The AUCCIRO notes that the Istanbul Convention introduces an entirely different interpretation of the concept of 'gender' than in the law, which means socially assigned roles, behavior, activities and characteristics that a certain society considers appropriate for women and men (article 3). In other words, the Convention refers to 'gender' not as a biological field that characterizes a woman or a man, but as a person's self-identification. But in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (article 7), signed by Ukraine in 2000, the term 'gender' refers only to two genders – male and female.
AUCCIRO believes that the negative consequences of such an approach in the Istanbul Convention may be to encourage Ukrainian schoolchildren to think about changing their sex ('gender') and to promote same-sex sexual relations as a variant of the norm.
“The concern of believers of different faiths is related to the obligation under article 14 of the Istanbul Convention, which provides for the inclusion of material on non-stereotypical gender roles in formal curricula at all levels of education,” the Council of Churches wrote to the Government.
In particular, the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations considers unacceptable approaches that are practiced in certain countries of Western Europe, when children are given the right to independently determine their 'gender' in adolescence since this only encourages the spread of cases of gender dysphoria.
As reported, religious leaders of various faiths are developing a joint communication strategy aimed at countering domestic violence. This goal will also be served by a thematic website, which is currently being developed by representatives of the AUCCIRO in the framework of a project implemented by the Institute for religious freedom.