Friday 15th of March 2019
4.30 pm- 6pm at
Church Centre 8th floor

Event Overview: Transforming Social Protection: Can the Istanbul Convention Help? The Council of Europe’s Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence, also known as the Istanbul Convention, is the most comprehensive international legislation on the issue of violence against women. The event will therefore explore the relevance of the Convention as a global framework to support social protection systems at the national level. Key experts from the Council of Europe, the International Network of Liberal Women and the National Democratic Institute will be invited to present their views and discuss best practices from across states which have already ratified the Convention.
Social protection systems have the potential to transform social and economic gender dynamics. However, to achieve this end, they must be designed taking into account the different types of risks and vulnerabilities affecting women in particular, such as violence or social marginalization. As the most comprehensive international treaty on the issue of violence against women, the Istanbul Convention can serve as an effective tool to help nation states to develop policies and mechanisms to overcome this challenge. One of the concrete outcomes of the event will be to generate international support for the extension of the Istanbul Convention beyond the borders of Europe, building an important advocacy platform towards the empowerment of women and girls around the world.

Participators of the Side Event

Moderator: Jayanthi Devi Balaguru Parti Gerakan Rakyat, Malaysia Jayanthi Devi Balaguru is currently serving as President of International Network of Liberal Women (INLW), the Chair of the Council of Asian Liberal and Democrats (CALD) Women’s Caucus. She is a lawyer, and an active member of Parti Gerakan Rakyat in Malaysia. Previously, she has served as an elected member of the Central Committee Member of the party, Wanita Gerakan Chairman and Chairman of the Central Environment Bureau. Ms. Balaguru has degrees from the University of Staffordshire and the University of Malaya and regularly conducts programs on women’s empowerment.


Dubravka Šimonovic, Croatia UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences Appointed as United Nations Special Rapporteur in June 2015 by the UN Human Rights Council. Started her tenure on 1 August 2015. Was a member of the CEDAW Committee between 2002 and 2014 and served as its Chairperson in 2007 and 2008. She was the Chairperson of the UN Commission on the Status of Women between 2001 and
2002 and also worked as a member of the UNIFEM Consultative Committee. At the regional level she was the Chair and Vice Chair of the Council of Europe’s Task Force to combat violence against women, including domestic violence in 2006 and 2007. Between 2008 and 2010, she co-chaired the Ad hoc Committee (CAHVIO) that elaborated the Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence. Ms. Šimonović holds a PhD in family law from the University of Zagreb. She is the author of several books and articles on women’s rights and violence against women.

Annemie Neyts-Uyttebroeck LI President of Honour, OpenVLD, Belgium Annemie Neyts-Uyttebroeck has had a long-standing career in European and international politics, serving as president of Liberal International between 2000-2005. Ms Neyts was three-times elected as a Member of the European Parliament and sat on the Committee on Foreign Affairs. In 2005 she was elected president of the European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party (now Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party) and is today a Belgian Minster of State. The liberal contribution Annemie Neyts has made to international politics has been recognized in Belgium, with the awarding of the highest order of Belgium, the Order of Leopold, and internationally with her appointment as a Knight of the French Légion d’honneur.

Feride Acar, Turkey President of the Group of Experts on Action Against Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence (GREVIO) Professor Emeritus of Political Science and Public Administration at Middle East Technical University (METU) in Ankara, Turkey. She is a former Chairperson and member of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). Prof. Acar has been active in the international women’s human rights and gender equality arena, either as an independent expert or representing Turkey in global and regional events. She has taken part in the negotiations, drafting and/or monitoring the implementation of several fundamental international instruments on women’s rights and gender equality (CEDAW, Beijing Platform for Action, CEDAW Optional Protocol, Istanbul Convention). She has organized and carried out ‘trainings’ on women’s rights and gender equality in many countries.

Bineta Diop, Senegal (NOT CONFIRMED) Africa Union Special Envoy on Women Founder and President of Femmes Africa Solidarité (FAS). She has led numerous peacebuilding programmes, including a women, peace and security initiative that resulted in the creation of a strong West African women’s movement, the Mano River Women’s Peace Network, which was awarded the United Nations General Assembly Prize in Human Rights in 2003. She has facilitated peace talks among women, particularly during the Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo peace negotiations. Ms. Diop played an instrumental role in achieving gender parity within the African Union Commission in 2003, which culminated in the election of five female Commissioners, and the adoption of the African Charter on Women and Peoples’ Rights (Maputo Protocol) and the Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality in Africa. Ms. Diop has received numerous honours and awards and in 2011 was named by TIME magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World.