“I am deeply concerned by the entry into force of a law imposing mediation for all forms of violence against women in Romania,” declared José Mendes Bota (Portugal, EPP/CD), the general rapporteur on violence against women of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE). “This new law is in contradiction with the provisions of the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, in particular with Article 48 which requires parties to prohibit the mandatory participation in any alternative dispute resolution processes, including mediation and conciliation, in relation to all forms of violence against women covered by the Convention. The law is also at variance with Article 56 requiring states to protect the rights and interests of victims, including by avoiding contact between the victim and the perpetrator where possible,” said Mr. Mendes Bota. “States should commit to protect victims of gender-based violence, in particular sexual violence and rape, from further victimisation and enable them to seek justice in a supportive environment. I therefore call on the Romanian authorities to revise this law in order to remove the imposition of mediation for victims of violence against women, and to sign and ratify the Istanbul Convention,” he concluded.