UKIP spokesperson for Equality Margot Parker said the UK’s ratification of the Istanbul Convention was long overdue but while the government has yet to ratify it, UK legislation already covers most aspects of the agreement.
Mrs Parker was speaking after the debate in Westminster regarding the second reading of the Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence (Ratification of Convention) Bill
“Ratification would send a message that these issues, which affect women and men, should no longer be swept under the carpet," she said.
"Issues surrounding FGM, so called “honour killing”, forced marriage, exploitation and trafficking can no longer be ignored out of complacence or because they are considered too awkward to fully address.
“It would also commit the UK to actually enforce some of its own legislation in a more robust and assertive way. For example, the Istanbul Convention specifically targets the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM). The UK has had laws on the books to combat FGM since 1985, and since 2003 has adopted trans-national jurisdiction when it comes to the issue – yet there has not been a single successful prosecution in all that time.
Mrs Parker said more could be done in terms of encouraging more widespread adoption of the convention.
“Just as the Geneva Convention had enormous global impact on international law when it comes to persecution, the Istanbul Convention has the potential to stimulate the same scale of change when it comes to violence and abuse.
“We need to do everything possible to combat violence against women and men in the UK as well as embrace bilateral and multilateral initiatives to do the same.
“Politicians, the press and local authorities have turned a blind eye to these issues in the name of multiculturalism and through fear of being branded racist.
“In recent years we have seen the attempted cover up of sexual offences in places like the UK, Germany and Sweden. If this Convention goes someway to bursting this bubble of silence in our communities and empowers victims of violence and abuse to come forward, then I fully support it.”