European Court – New Admissibility Criterion. European Court of Human Rights. 2012. Publisher's VersionAbstract

The purpose of the current overview is to set out the case-law principles for the new admissibility criterion under Article 35 § 3 (b), as developed by the Court during the first two years of its operation. It is to be recalled that application of the criterion was reserved exclusively to Chambers and the Grand Chamber1 from 1 June 2010 until 31 May 2012. In accordance with Article 20 of Protocol No. 14, the new provision began to apply to all applications pending before the Court, except those declared admissible.


“He Loves You, He Beats You” - Family Violence in Turkey and Access to Protection. Human Rights Watch; 2011. Publisher's VersionAbstract

This report documents brutal and long-lasting violence against women and girls by husbands, partners, and family members and the survivors’ struggle to seek protection. Turkey has strong protection laws, setting out requirements for shelters for abused women and protection orders. However, gaps in the law and implementation failures by police, prosecutors, judges, and other officials make the protection system unpredictable at best, and at times downright dangerous.

Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence. Council of Europe; 2011. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Stalking, sexual harassment, sexual violence and rape, physical, sexual and psychological abuse at the hands of intimate partners, forced marriage, and forced sterilisation are deeply traumatising acts of violence. The overwhelming majority of victims are women. Adding female genital mutilation and forced abortion as forms of violence that only women can be subjected to, shows the shocking level of diversity in cruel and degrading behaviour that women experience. If we consider the fact that most violence is carried out by men, it is just a small step to understanding that violence against women is structural violence – violence that is used to sustain male power and control. This is even more obvious if we look at the patchy attempts of the police, courts and social services to help women victims which is seen in many countries across the world. 

The Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence is based on the understanding that violence against women is a form of gender-based violence that is committed against women because they are women. It is the obligation of the state to fully address it in all its forms and to take measures to prevent violence against women, protect its victims and prosecute the perpetrators. Failure to do so would make it the responsibility of the state. The convention leaves no doubt: there can be no real equality between women and men if women experience gender-based violence on a large-scale and state agencies and institutions turn a blind eye. 

Because it is not only women who suffer domestic violence, parties to the convention are encouraged to apply the protective framework it creates to men, children and the elderly who are exposed to violence within the family or domestic unit. Still, it should not be overlooked that the majority of victims of domestic violence are women and that domestic violence against them is part of a wider pattern of discrimination and inequality.

Kleinsorge T. Legal protection of children from sexual exploitation: The “Lanzarote Convention” and the One in Five campaign. 2011. Publisher's VersionAbstract

It is estimated that one in five children fall victim to sexual violence – a serious human rights violation the Council of Europe has decided to combat through: 1. legislative harmonization - The Council of Europe Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse (Lanzarote Convention) is the most advanced and complete standard in this field 2. awareness-raising and political action – The Council of Europe campaign ONE in FIVE to stop sexual violence against children and its parliamentary dimension aims to raise awareness of the full extent of sexual violence against children in our societies and promote appropriate policies to stop this violence
European Convention on Human Rights. Council of Europe; 2010. Publisher's VersionAbstract

The Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, better known as the European Convention on Human Rights, was opened for signature in Rome on 4 November 1950 and came into force in 1953. It was the first instrument to give effect to certain of the rights stated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and make them binding.

The importance of the Convention lies not only in the scope of the fundamental rights it protects, but also in the protection mechanism established in Strasbourg to examine alleged violations and ensure compliance by the States with their undertakings under the Convention. Accordingly, in 1959, the European Court of Human Rights was set up.

In the system as first set up, three institutions were given the task of ensuring compliance with the undertakings given by the Contracting States: the European Commission of Human Rights, the European Court of Human Rights and the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe. With the entry into force of Protocol No. 11 on 1 November 1998 the first two institutions were merged into a single Court, to which individual or State applications can be directly made alleging violations of the civil and political rights set forth in the Convention.

Since its adoption in 1950 the Convention has been amended a number of times and supplemented with many rights in addition to those set forth in the original text.

Towards a Europe Free from All Forms of Male Violence against Women. European Women's Lobby; 2010. Publisher's VersionAbstract

This position paper constitutes the basis for the European Women’s Lobby (EWL) and its members to develop advocacy work on the issue of male violence against women at European and national level. It highlights the EWL position on the issue and presents its recommendations towards a Europe free form all forms of male violence against women.

Hanna C. Health, Human Rights, and Violence Against Women and Girls: Broadly Redefining Affirmative State Duties After Opuz v. Turkey. Hastings International and Comparative Law Review . 2010 :10-48. Publisher's VersionAbstract

By expanding our understanding of human rights and affirmative state duties to include explicit concerns about female health, we provide a more complete articulation of a rights-based approach to elimination of gendered violence, thereby honoring principles of equality within a broader human rights framework. ... While few would question that states have an affirmative duty to implement policies geared at ending male violence against females, many would question whether such policies should include mandated interventions that are contrary to a woman's choice to preference her privacy over her health or safety. ... When assessing whether a nation has violated its duties under the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms ("European Convention"), the Court required states to intervene if authorities knew or should have known there was a risk to the life of an individual by a third party. ... Second, and perhaps more importantly, all of the available data suggests that intimate partner violence is among the greatest preventable health risks that women and girls face. ... Nahide fell into the category of a "vulnerable individual" as a repeat victim of domestic violence who felt helpless because of the inadequate protection the State offered. ... Therefore, while Opuz does not directly create an explicit right to health in the context of gendered violence, it does give life to such a concept by articulating a clear standard of positive state intervention. 

Towards a Europe Free from All Forms of Male Violence against Women. European Women's Lobby; 2010. Publisher's VersionAbstract


The Council of Europe Task Force to Combat Violence against Women, including Domestic Violence (EG-TFV), was set up following a decision taken at the Third Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Council of Europe held in Warsaw on 16 and 17 May 2005. The Action Plan adopted at the Summit defines future action by the Council of Europe and envisages activities to combat vio- lence against women, including domestic violence. Section II.4 of the Plan states:

“The Council of Europe will take meas- ures to combat violence against women, including domestic violence. It will set up a task force to evaluate progress at national level and establish instruments for quantifying develop- ments at pan-European level with a view to drawing up proposals for action. A pan-European campaign to combat violence against women, in- cluding domestic violence, will be pre- pared and conducted in close co- operation with other European and na- tional actors, including NGOs.”

Accordingly, eight international experts in the field of preventing and combating violence against women were appointed to the Task Force by the Secretary General of the Council of Europe. The Steering Committee

for Equality between Women and Men (CDEG) proposed six members of the Task Force, while the Parlia- mentary Assembly and the Congress of Regional and Local Authorities of the Council of Europe proposed one member each. The appointments were made in consultation with the Committee of Ministers' Thematic Co-ordinator on Equality between Women and Men (TC-EG) and the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights. 

Smet M. Sexual Violence Against Women in Armed Conflict - Council of Europe. Council of Europe; 2009. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Sexual violence against women in armed conflict is a crime against humanity, a war crime, and an unacceptable – but, unfortunately, effective – weapon of war. Raping, sexually assaulting and mutilating, forcibly impregnating and infecting with HIV/AIDS the wives, daughters and mothers of the “enemy” not only have terrible physical and psychological effects on the victims themselves, but are capable of disrupting, if not destroying, whole communities.

It has taken centuries for sexual violence against women in armed conflict to be outlawed. It was not until 2008 that the international community, via United Nations Security Council Resolution 1820 on women, peace and security, recognised that rape and other forms of sexual violence can constitute a war crime, a crime against humanity, and a constitutive act with respect to genocide.

However, sexual violence against women in armed conflict is unfortunately still common – it was a constitutive feature of the Balkan wars little more than a decade ago. Today, the main victims of this crime are found in the Democratic Republic of Congo (especially in Kivu) and in Sudan (especially in Darfur). To this day, thousands of victims are denied access to justice, reparation and redress. The lives of the victims remain blighted in many ways while the perpetrators enjoy almost complete impunity for their crimes.

McGlynn C. Rape, Torture and the European Convention on Human Rights. The International and Comparative Law Quarterly. 2009;58 (3) :565-595. Publisher's VersionAbstract

*This full article is available through this link. This article may be available free of charge to those with university credentials.

This article examines the legacy of the ground-breaking judgment in Aydin v Turkey in which the European Court of Human Rights held that rape could constitute torture. Ten years on, it examines jurisprudential developments in the conceptualisation of torture in the specific context of the offence of rape. It is argued that while all rapes should be found to satisfy the minimum threshold for Article 3, rape does not per se satisfy the severity of harm criterion for torture. Nonetheless, where the severity of harm is established, the case is made that the purposive element of torture is satisfied in all cases of rape. Finally, in relation to the scope of State responsibility for rape, particularly by private individuals, the article suggests that while the Court's achievements in recognizing rape as a serious harm are considerable, there remain further avenues for jurisprudential development which would ensure that rape as a form of torture is recognized in a wider range of situations and circumstances than is currently the case.

G.D. and S.F. v. France.; 2009. Publisher's VersionAbstract

The authors are two French women who are unmarried and have no children. Both authors were automatically given their father’s last name pursuant to a customary rule in force at the time of their birth.

Although the authors were abandoned by their fathers by an early age, raised exclusively by their mothers, and used their mother’s family name unofficially, they continue to be officially registered under their father’s family name. On 26 May 2006, after unsuccessfully pursuing a number of administrative procedures at the domestic level, the authors appealed to the Committee under Article 16(1), which requires non-discrimination between the rights of husband and wife, including the right to choose a family name and to transmit the family name to children.

The Committee, while acknowledging the hardship encountered by the authors, held the communication inadmissible because the authors did not qualify as victims under the meaning of Article 2 of the Optional Protocol. Since both women were unmarried, did not live in husband-and-wife relationships, and did not have children, they could not assert their rights under Article 16 of the Convention, whose beneficiaries are only married women, women living in de facto union, or mothers.

Council of Europe Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse (Explanatory Report). Council of Europe. 2009. Publisher's VersionAbstract

I. The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe took note of this Explanatory Report at its 1002nd meeting held at its Deputies' level, on 12 July 2007. The Convention was opened for signature in Lanzarote (Spain), on 25 October 2007, on the occasion of the 28th Conference of European Ministers of Justice.

II. The text of this explanatory report does not constitute an instrument providing an authoritative interpretation of the Convention, although it might be of such a nature as to facilitate the application of the provisions contained therein.

Hungary: Cries Unheard: The Failure To Protect Women From Rape And Sexual Violence In The Home. Amnesty International; 2007. Publisher's VersionAbstract

This report discusses the insurmountable barrier confronted by girls and women seeking justice for rape in Hungary. It outlines the current situation in Hungary, including statements from interviewees, and details a series of recommendations from Amnesty Intenational to the Hungarian government.

Askola H. Violence against Women, Trafficking, and Migration in the European Union. European Law Journal; 2007. Publisher's VersionAbstract

*The full article is available through this link. This article may be available free of charge to those with university credentials.

This article examines the evolving EU policy against human trafficking, especially trafficking that targets migrant women for sexual exploitation. It maintains that even though action against trafficking is now firmly on the EU agenda, current policies excessively focus on repressive measures and lack attention to the broader setting in which the exploitation of migrants takes place. This means that current EU anti-trafficking policy remains ineffectual, and may in some cases even be counterproductive.