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At the OAS, Italy Signs Belém do Pará Convention on the Prevention, Punishment, and Eradication of Violence against Women

  November 19, 2013

The Republic of Italy, represented by its Deputy Minister for Labor and Social Policies and Delegate for Equal Opportunities, Maria Cecilia Guerra, today signed at the Organization of American States (OAS) the Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment, and Eradication of Violence against Women (Belem do Pará Convention), an act seen as the beginning of a collaboration between Europe and the Americas in putting an end to violence against women in both regions.

At the signing ceremony, held within the framework of the Fifth Conference of States Parties to the Mechanism for the Convention of Belém do Pará (MESECVI), the OAS Assistant Secretary General, Albert Ramdin, congratulated the Italian government for its initiative, commitment and leadership and said that "we are honored to join in this effort and look forward to forging a new collaboration in this area." Italy is the first OAS observer country to sign the Convention.

"This signing ceremony is significant in several ways: it allows us to reflect on the progress made over the last twenty years, underscores the importance of women’s rights as a fundamental human right and reminds us of the need to strengthen our collective efforts to address remaining challenges," noted the senior official of the hemispheric institution, while recalling that international cooperation on the response to violence against women "will continue to provide a forum for participatory dialogue and exchange of innovative ideas and experiences."

Ambassador Ramdin also recalled that the text adopted in 1994 in Belém do Pará "is a unique and historic convention as it was the first in the world to address violence against women by establishing a woman’s right to live a life free of violence, it also laid the groundwork for the adoption of laws and policies on this issue in the States Party to the Convention as well as a strategic policy framework for their implementation."

The Assistant Secretary General acknowledged the progress in implementing the Convention in recent years and recalled that this initiative, created two decades ago in the framework of the OAS, "paved the way at the regional level for the strengthening of the international legal framework on violence against women." In this regard, he referred to the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention), opened for signature in 2011, and highlighted how the experience of Belém do Pará "contributed to the adoption of this strong European instrument that will help to harmonize and consolidate the States' approaches to address this problem."

The signing ceremony, held at OAS headquarters in Washington, DC was attended by the Permanent Observer of Italy to the OAS, Sebastiano Fulci, the Chair of the Conference of the States Parties to the Convention and Executive Secretary of the Presidential Secretariat for Women (SEPREM), Elizabeth Quiróa Cuellar, and authorities on the issue from OAS member countries. Italy has been a Permanent Observer to the OAS since 1972.

A gallery of photos of the event is available here.

The B-Roll of the event is available here.

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at

Reference: E-444/13