Czech Senate votes against Istanbul Convention

Prague, January 30, 2024

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The Senate of the Czech Republic voted last week against the controversial “Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence,” better known as the Istanbul Convention.

34 of the 71 senators present voted in favor of ratification, falling two votes short, reports Radio Prague International.

The Czech Republic thus joins the minority of countries that have signed (which it did in 2016) but not ratified the Convention, the others being Armenia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Lithuania, and Slovakia. Turkey itself withdrew from the Convention in 2021.

The Czech Chamber of Deputies was also meant to vote on the document, but is now unlikely to do so in light of the Senate’s vote.

Czech opponents of the Convention expressed the same concerns as many other countries and a number of Orthodox Churches: That it introduces new concepts of men and women and imposes harmful gender ideology.

The Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia co-signed a letter against the Convention in 2018, arguing that, among other things, it violates the legal principle of presumption of innocence.

The most recent Orthodox Church to criticize the Istanbul Convention is the Macedonian Orthodox Church-Ohrid Archbishopric. The Church organized a prayerful protest in July against attempts to bring gender ideology via legislation. In his speech, the MOC primate His Eminence Archbishop Stefan of Ohrid spoke of the Istanbul Convention as a threat to women, under the guise of protecting women.

OrthoChristian has also reported on the condemnation of the Convention by the Bulgarian, Moldovan, Polish, and Ukrainian Churches.

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