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Activists name on France to endorse a consent-based rape definition throughout your entire European Union

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PARIS — Activists sporting masks depicting President Emmanuel Macron urged France on Thursday to alter its place and endorse a legislation proposed by the European Union that will outline rape as intercourse with out consent within the bloc’s 27 nations.

The demonstrators gathered in downtown Paris on the eve of Worldwide Day for the Elimination of Violence in opposition to Ladies to use stress on the French head of state.

The European Fee, the EU’s government arm, proposed laws final yr to make consent-based rape legal guidelines constant throughout the bloc, and to introduce a standard set of penalties.

Whereas different particulars of the directive, which embody a proposal for the criminalization of feminine genital mutilation and cyberbullying, appear to collect a consensus among the many 27 member nations, the definition of rape based mostly on the shortage of consent is deeply divisive.

In response to Human Rights Watch, solely 13 EU member states use consent-based definitions to criminalize rape. Many others nonetheless require the usage of power, or menace, to mete out punishment. France, as an illustration, considers {that a} rape might be thought of to have occurred when “an act of sexual penetration or an oral-genital act is dedicated on an individual, with violence, coercion, menace or shock.”

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“I am right here as we speak as a result of it infuriates me to see that our legal legislation is less than the duty, that as we speak it permits for rape to occur,” mentioned Sirine Sehil, a legal legislation legal professional. “It doesn’t bear in mind our consent, our will, what we, as ladies, need.”

The Paris motion, the place a banner mentioned “Solely sure means sure,” was organized by teams together with nonprofit group Avaaz and the European Ladies Foyer, an umbrella group of girls’s nongovernmental associations in Europe.

Earlier this week, Human Rights Watch despatched a letter to French authorities officers urging them to comply with the consent-based definition and to take a number one position in negotiations.

“Whereas we acknowledge that France goals to guard ladies’s rights and fight violence in opposition to ladies and women, at current it regrettably stays within the firm of member states together with Poland and Hungary and lags behind member states corresponding to Spain, Belgium, Germany, Eire, Sweden, Denmark and Greece in amending its legal legislation,” the letter says. “This is a chance for France to not solely take the required steps towards assembly its personal worldwide human rights obligations, however to guide your entire EU ahead in its combat to fight violence in opposition to ladies and women.”

Some EU nations have additionally argued that the problem of rape is a matter of legal legislation, and subsequently falls inside the competence of member nations, not the EU.

Many European lawmakers need the definition based mostly on non-consensual intercourse to be adopted.

“It’s the solely technique to assure that each one EU nations put into their nationwide legislation that intercourse with out consent is rape, and that each one European ladies are equally protected,” the Socialists and Democrats group mentioned in a press release.

The professional-Europe Renew Europe group rued the impasse inside the Council of the European Union representing member nations, arguing that the inclusion of intercourse with out consent within the legislation is essential to set minimal guidelines for the offence.

“With no harmonized definition of rape, this directive can be an empty vase,” mentioned Lucia Duris Nicholsonova, a lawmaker from Slovakia. “We want a standard method throughout all member states. A girl raped can’t be thought of solely ‘oversensitive’ in a single member state, whereas in the identical case in one other member state she can be thought of a sufferer of a criminal offense. We now have to combat for all victims to have equal entry to justice.”


Samuel Petrequin reported from Brussels.

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