“I welcome the vote in the German parliament to pass the so-called No means No law, which brings Germany in line with our convention to end violence against women,” said Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland.
“Rape cannot be limited to just physical assault,” he said of the Council of Europe’s Istanbul Convention, which requires European governments to define rape as non-consensual acts of a sexual nature and criminalise it. “This vote means that women who say no to sex mean just that.”
German ratification of the Istanbul Convention will be a major step to end violence against women and domestic violence in Germany, and should encourage more governments to ratify, he added.
The Istanbul Convention criminalises violence against women in all its forms. It seeks to prevent violent acts, protect and support victims and prosecute perpetrators. Monitoring of compliance with the convention is done through an independent expert group (GREVIO, or the Group of Experts on Action against Violence against Women and Domestic Violence).
Of 47 Council of Europe members, only five (Armenia, Azerbaijan, the Republic of Moldova, the Russian Federation and Liechtenstein) have neither signed nor ratified the Istanbul Convention. Twenty-two states have ratified the treaty, and 20 – including Germany – have signed with the intention to make it part of national law.