top of page


20 June 2022

Ukraine ratifies the 2011 Istanbul Convention banning violence against women. Controversy flares up as some see it as encroaching on traditional values.

On 20 June 2022 Ukraine’s parliament finally ratified the Council of Europe’s Convention on combating domestic violence (Istanbul Convention). Signed by Ukraine as far back as 2011, it has since been kept on the back burner, apparently for fear of alienating parts of the electorate.  

Some politicians and public figures have been quick to slam the legislature’s action, casting the Convention as a threat to Ukraine’s traditional values and promising to fight back. Others say the Convention’s protections have in fact been long overtaken by the domestic legislation. 

While the Convention’s focus is ostensibly on protecting women against domestic and other kinds of violence, the sticking point seems to be that it defines gender as a “social construct”, instead of firmly endorsing the male and female sexes. That, some worry, may eventually open the door to legalizing same-sex marriage.

In any event, the government has made a formal reservation that the Convention’s effect will be confined to its stated purpose, i.e., the protection of women’s rights, and no changes will be made to laws relative to marriage or children. 

Back to legal updates

bottom of page