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  • May 2016: Leaders of Latvia’s Christian denominations criticize the Istanbul Convention

The Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (the so-called “Istanbul Convention”) was adopted by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe in 2011. On April 29, 2016, the leaders of Latvia’s Christian denominations released an open letter about the Istanbul Convention, which pointed out that the Convention in its current form is not acceptable, as it contains significant faults, which "permit tendentious, ideological interpretations – including ones, which also have no connection with the eradication of violence.” The leaders of Latvia’s Christian denominations consider that the Istanbul Convention does not deal with the true causes of violence, but opens up opportunities to force a social gender-ideology based social transformation project on Latvia, which would be inconsistent with the Latvian constitution.

The Church representatives pointed out that the convention does not take a stance against the promotion of violence in the media or pornography, where females are treated as objects in the most degrading way. Also, the convention does not address the issue of the excessive use of alcohol or drugs, which is the main reason for violence within families and in the community, and the convention does not protect from violence children who have been conceived (abortion). The Church leaders invited politicians to do whatever is necessary to eliminate the real causes of violence within the family, and as a consequence to combat violence, which is directed at women.

The Latvian government supported the signing of the Istanbul Convention, but to the degree that it is not in conflict with the constitution. The constitution defines that marriage is a union between a man and a woman, while the convention also mentions gender in the sense of a social theory. The Istanbul Convention was signed by the Minister of Social Affairs of Latvia on 18 May 2016, but it will need to be ratified in the Latvian Parliament (Saeima).

D 20 October 2023    AAnita Stasulane

CNRS Unistra Dres Gsrl

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