Britain’s Home Secretary Theresa May has been accused of hypocrisy after leaked documents revealed the country was trying to redefine violence against women.
Simultaneous with International Women’s Day, the Home Secretary unveiled the government’s strategy on tackling violence against women.
This happened as government officials were trying to downgrade an international agreement to protect women against domestic and sexual abuse.
The Council of Europe members were shocked and frustrated at the UK’s last-minute intervention in a debate, arguing that violence against women does not constitute a violation of human rights, according to leaked documents to The Times newspaper.
British government officials are reportedly trying to remove the suggestion from the Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence and replace it with a weaker phrase.
They are also seeking changes to the agreement, which has taken 47 member states nearly two years to negotiate, so that it could only be applied during peacetime and not during armed conflict, said the documents.
“It is hypocritical for the government to claim that violence against women is a priority and then behind closed doors to try to water the action down”, said Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper.
Meanwhile, Scottish National Party international development spokesman Eilidh Whiteford MP said the revelations were “all the more shameful” emerging on International Women’s Day.
“On the day that the Home Office publishes an action plan to end violence against women and girls, behind the scenes it is trying to water down an international agreement to protect women. It is disgraceful double standards,” she said.
“These revelations expose shocking hypocrisy on the part of the government”, added Whiteford.