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Statement by Iceland in exchange of views with Ms Dunja Mijatović, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights

Council of Europe, Committee of Ministers, 1413th meeting of the Ministers' Deputies. Statement delivered by Ambassador Ragnhildur Arnljótsdóttir.

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

We thank the Commissioner for Human Rights for addressing issues related to violence against women and for her persistent fight for women’s rights and gender equality.

We also want to thank the Commissioner for [previously] bringing attention to digital violence against women and the many forms it can take. Increasing digital violence is a very important topic in today’s world as it – like any other form of violence against women - hampers the full realization of gender equality and violates women’s rights. Online violence is just as destructive as offline violence and people need to understand that it's real violence with real impacts.

Our virtual society has unfortunately made it easier for perpetrators to commit violence without consequences. In Iceland, we have met online gender-based violence with legislative reforms of the General Penal code which added a clause protecting individuals from sexual violations by digital means. The innovative legislation makes sharing – and the threat of sharing - sexual material and images without consent punishable. The legislative changes are also supported by new policy measures to ensure their proper implementation.

The digital world should be a place where women and girls feel safe and empowered and free from violence.

Mr. Chair, we would like to ask the Commissioner what could be done to ensure that digital violence against women is taken more seriously and how men could get more involved?

I thank you.

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