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Sereni, the ECHR calls for action to protect women and gender equality

“The European Convention on Human Rights represents a still unparalleled system aimed at protecting the human rights and political freedoms of more than 830 million people in 47 European countries and for this reason Italy is proud to have hosted the signing ceremony in Rome, seventy years ago” declared Marina Sereni, Italy’s Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs, speaking by video conference at the event commemorating the signing of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights (ECHR), organised by Rome’s “La Sapienza” University.

Drafted within the framework of the Council of Europe and signed in Rome on November 4, 1950, all the member states of the Council adhere to the Convention. In 1959 the European Court of Justice was established.

“So many years after the adoption of the ECHR – Ms. Sereni also said – one cannot fail to see its ability to keep up with the new global challenges. The adoption, over the years, of several additional Protocols has made it possible to integrate new and emerging rights, to widen the scope of the rights already protected, to create more advanced mechanisms and procedures for the protection of the individual”.

“Today – the Vice Minister continued – we can see the positive impact that the ECHR has had on the national legislation and policies of the Member States, as in the case of violence and gender discrimination. By intervening on the often inadequate response by the States to these cases, which left many women without any form of protection, the European Court of Justice has contributed with courage and conviction to fill those gaps, providing effective judicial protection to victims. The judges in Strasbourg have interpreted the Convention extensively and the Court’s rulings in favour of women’s rights have often been ground-breaking, affirming fundamental concepts and extending the concept of violence against women to cases of psychological violence, stalking and cyberviolence”.

“Many years of reforms – Ms. Sereni stressed – have strengthened the Convention system, but some important challenges have not yet been tackled. The historical moment requires us to strike the right balance between the protection of fundamental human rights and freedoms and the need to protect public health. Also in view of the Italian Presidency of the Council of Europe, from November 2021 to May 2022, Italy is forcefully committed to ensuring that the ECHR continues to serve as a guiding star for the defence of the human dignity and rights of every individual. The forthcoming Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe in Athens, on November 4 – she concluded – will represent an important opportunity to reaffirm the great importance we all attach to the Convention”.

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