This week, the government has pledged to adopt new measures to protect women and girls from crimes committed overseas as part of a Domestic Violence Bill.
Such legislation would ensure that certain offences committed by British citizens can be prosecuted in UK courts regardless of where they take place in the world by extending “extra-territorial jurisdiction”. Arguably, the Bill is a key milestone towards ratifying the Istanbul Convention.
We greatly welcome such efforts especially as it deeply concerns the rights of migrant and refugee women - which are always at the heart of what we do. Earlier this month, the IARS Women’s Advisory Board issued a manifesto for the UK Ratification of the Istanbul Convention calling the government to properly implement the convention, ensuring that migrant and refugee women are protected from all forms of violence regardless of their residency status.
Whilst such announcement is undoubtedly an important step towards the ratification of the Istanbul Convention, we urge the government to go a step further by explicitly committing to fully incorporating into the upcoming legislation the Istanbul Convention Article 60 on Gender-based asylum claims, Article 61 on safeguarding the principle of non-refoulement, and Article 50 on Residence Status. Only by implementing measures foreseen in those articles challenges that migrant and refugee women have been experiencing for long in this country can finally be addressed and they will be able to enjoy the full protection of their rights!