A demonstration will be organised this Sunday in Brussels for the International Day to Eliminate Violence against Women. Calling upon several dozen organisations, participants will demand “greater and mass commitment, and as a result local government action” around the issue. In Belgium, at least 33 women have already lost their lives since January at the mercy of a man.
The organisers stress, “Although the speeches are almost unanimous in condemning violence against women, they are not yet being followed by action.” They evidence proof of this in their alternative analysis report for the implementation of the Istanbul Convention. The agreement is a convention of the Council of Europe, which places legal constraints around the prevention of and fighting violence against women, and regarding domestic violence, ratified in 2016 by Belgium.
It is reported that “Organisations on the ground often see through their work that the Belgium does not respect its obligations as regards the fight against domestic violence in the best possible way, and does not appear to demonstrate all of the measures necessary to succeed in it.”
The report denounces in particular a decline in the systematic interpretation from the perspective of gender relations stating, “…the players are less starkly identified as the perpetrator and victim of unequal power relations between men and women.” In addition, there is a lack of “discourse tending to make all protagonists jointly aware of their responsibilities as regards the occurrence of violence.” The organisations lament not being consulted “as much in the development as in the implementation and assessment of national action plans” and that “data available around violence of this type is somewhat lacking.”
According to the report, Belgium does show a poor degree of respect or none at all for 80% of the articles of the Convention. The organisations spearheading the mobilisation on Sunday are calling upon the authorities to make the fight against domestic violence directed against women “a systematic priority within an integrated policy at all the levels of power, in direct collaboration with organisations on the ground, as a means of completely changing the practices in this area, and to better adapt to victim needs.”
The demonstration will take place on Sunday from 1.30 p.m., starting from Place Poelaert.