Feminist Legal Studies

, Volume 24, Issue 1, pp 49–67 | Cite as

Violence Against Migrant Women: The Istanbul Convention Through a Postcolonial Feminist Lens

  • Lourdes PeroniEmail author


This article examines the recent Council of Europe Convention on violence against women (VAW) through the lens of postcolonial feminist critiques. The article argues that, while there is certainly cause for optimism, the Convention still falls into some of the traps identified by postcolonial feminists. The Convention largely circumvents the stigmatising risks that arise from framing certain VAW forms primarily as a problem of some ‘cultures’. Yet dangers linger in the Convention’s approach to ‘honour’ as an unacceptable justification for VAW. Inherent risks also remain in the vulnerability frame through which the Convention views migrant, refugee, and asylum-seeker women. Applied uncritically, these approaches risk re-inscribing images of inherently powerless women victimised by their non-European ‘cultures,’ reminiscent of colonial times.


Istanbul Convention Migrant, refugee, and asylum-seeker women in Europe Postcolonial feminism Violence against women 



I am thankful to Eva Brems, Alexandra Timmer, and two anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments on earlier versions of this article.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Human Rights Center, Faculty of LawGhent UniversityGhentBelgium

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