Prime Minister Robert Fico announced on February 22 that Slovakia will not ratify the Istanbul Convention as long as doubts persist about its accordance with the Slovak Constitution, particularly its paragraph about marriage as a bond between a man and a woman.
Fico’s statement came on the heels of protests against the Convention organised by people from conservative Christian circles. One such protest was staged in the northern-Slovak town of Tvrdošín on February 10.
Instead of ratifying the Istanbul Convention as a whole, Fico proposes to introduce national laws that would increase the protection of women from domestic violence.
“Any violence against women is unacceptable and has no place in our society,” Fico said as quoted by the Sme daily, and added that the protection of women’s rights is particularly important at a time when migrants make up more and more of the European population and bring with them “cultural and social patterns from their countries of origin”, including the perception of a woman as a submissive human being.
“I am against the emergence of compact Muslim communities in Slovakia on principle,” Fico said, as quoted by Sme. “So that these communities are not able to preserve the habits that Europe and its Christian historical roots refute as wrong and unjust.”
Christian Churches in Slovakia issued a joint statement earlier on February 22 speaking against the Istanbul Convention and calling on the government to withdraw its signature from the document. The religious representatives, just like Fico, labelled the Convention “controversial”.
“We are in favour of the protection of women from any violence whatsoever but we cannot agree with the ideologies that present equality as sameness and go as far as to deny the differences between men and women,” the statement reads, as quoted by Sme.