ZAGREB, March 10, 2018 – Prime Minister Andrej Plenković on Saturday called on the members of his HDZ party not to make conclusions on the Istanbul Convention only based on a debate in which it gained an ideological connotation, but to read it, saying its essence was to protect women from violence and that he expected a unanimous position on it on Monday, when the party would discuss it.
The government and parliament will approach this subject responsibly, explaining in a bill everything that could be or is contentious to someone and putting safeguards as part of an interpretation statement which will clearly prevent any misinterpretation of certain parts of the Convention, Plenković reiterated at a celebration of the 28th anniversary of the HDZ’s Velika Gorica branch.
One of the party’s founders, Mirko Matić, said in his address that the HDZ (Croatian Democratic Union) was founded on Christian democratic values and that it should not pass laws that were not in line with the laws of God and nature.
Plenković said the HDZ Presidency and National Council would discuss on Monday the Council of Europe’s convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, more commonly known as the Istanbul Convention. He said the document was written at an international level at the Council, which Croatia joined in November 1996, “when we received the first European confirmation that we had met the criteria of freedom, democracy, human rights protection and rule of law.” He added that the HDZ was in power at that time and that its experts had worked on the Convention.
Plenković said the document was aimed at protecting women from violence, adding that Croatia’s figures in this regard, including murders, “aren’t encouraging.” He said Croatia’s society, state and the HDZ, “as a responsible political party,” must deal with this problem on a daily basis. He said that in the debate to follow after the government endorses the bill on the ratification of the Convention, he would explain in parliament its essence.
He called on all HDZ members to read the Convention and approach the matter rationally and responsibly, saying the HDZ was not embarking on this for the opposition or its coalition partners but to protect women in society and in families.
Plenković said the European People’s Party, of which the HDZ is a member, had put the Convention on its agenda because some member states had doubts about it, unanimously deciding in December that the document should be ratified, notably in the Council of Europe and EU members states in which EPP members were in power.