Gavin Newlands, the MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire, attended the debate on violence against women and girls in Westminster Hall today and had the opportunity to sum up on behalf of the SNP – calling for the ratification of the Istanbul Convention and for the UK to work with countries across the world to end gender-based violence and discrimination.

The Westminster Hall debate, secured by Mark Durkan MP, focussed on the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and gender-based violence and discrimination.

The Renfrewshire MP, who has been a leading campaigner on ending violence against women since being elected, told MPs that the UN’s initiative was an opportunity for the international community to come together and make the modern world a more safer and fairer place to live.

Speaking in Westminster Hall, Gavin Newlands MP said:
“The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals are an opportunity for countries the world over to come together and change the course of the 21st century; we have a chance to tackle the entrenched problems that afflict our world – like poverty, inequality and gender-based violence.

“We must seize this opportunity to make the modern world safer and fairer with both hands.

“The United Nations passed a declaration on the ‘Elimination of Violence Against Women’ in 1993; however, over 20 years later, we still live in a world that is afflicted by gender-based violence and discrimination.

“Needless to say, it is clear that the problem before us – at both home and abroad – represents a significant challenge, but it is a problem that we cannot shy away from and a challenge that we must undertake to eliminate all together.

“Because behind these depressing statistics are in fact many devastating stories – a sad reality that too many women and have unduly suffered for far too long.”

Summing up, the Renfrewshire MP concluded: “We must do more to eradicate the abhorrent gender-based violence and discrimination that is inflicted upon women and girls at both home and abroad.

“It is an inexcusable shame and an international scandal that such violent acts and grotesque discrimination still persist across the modern world.

“We have a duty to never shirk nor shun an opportunity to end such violence and discrimination and we must always strive to secure equality and empower women and girls wherever they live throughout the world.

“Be in no doubt, while I readily admit that this will not be a simple or straight-forward task, the prize for it is a world that is less hungry and more healthy, a world that is more equal and more educated, a world that is safer and more secure, a world that is more free and fair. Indeed, the best of all possible worlds for women and girls to grow up and live in.”

Speaking after the debate, Gavin Newlands MP said: “Politics in Westminster is known to sometimes produce more heat than light; however, I believe that a rare consensus has emerged here today as we debated this important issue.”