European Documents That Protect Women's Rights
updated July 26, 2013

The European human rights institutions define the obligations of member States to protect human rights through treaties. In addition, other documents, such as resolutions and recommendations, while non-binding, make clear that violence against women is a human rights violation and that member States are obligated to protect the human rights of all. Many of the European documents reference the principles outlined in United Nations documents that violence against women is a violation of fundamental human rights and impairs women's ability to enjoy other basic rights and freedoms.

Included in this section are summaries of the main human rights treaties of the Council of Europe, European Union and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe as well as descriptions of other influential documents that address violence against women. In addition, specific European laws and policy that directly address domestic violence, sexual assault, sexual harassment and trafficking in women can be accessed from the sections of this site on regional law.