Council of Europe's statement on Poland's justice minister's plan to quit Istanbul Convention

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"We regret the mis-representations and deliberate misinformation about the aims and purpose of the Istanbul Convention and their use for narrow ideological purposes" - the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) said in a statement referring to Poland's justice minister plans. Zbigniew Ziobro wants Polish government to withdraw from the convention tackling domestic violence, including violence against women.

"The announcement by government officials that Poland would initiate the procedure to withdraw from the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention) is a reason for serious concern" - reads a joint statement issued by PACE President Rik Daems, Beatrice Fresko-Rolfo, General Rapporteur on violence against women, Pieter Omtzigt (Netherlands, EPP/CD) and Azadeh Rojhan Gustafsson (Sweden, SOC), corapporteurs on the monitoring of Poland.

"Major setback for human rights"

"Violence against women and domestic violence are severe violations of human rights. During the Covid-19 pandemic and the lockdown measures introduced to counter it, we have witnessed a sharp rise in acts of domestic violence and more women suffering violence at the hands of their partners" - it was written.

"We regret the mis-representations and deliberate misinformation about the aims and purpose of the Istanbul Convention and their use for narrow ideological purposes" - reads the statement.

"The withdrawal of Poland from the Istanbul Convention would represent a major setback for the respect for human rights in the country. We urge the ruling majority not to follow through on the announcement of the Minister of Justice" - the author stressed.

Furthermore, PACE called upon the Polish delegation "to play their vital role as supporters of human rights, equality and non-discrimination, and to launch an initiative to hold a parliamentary hearing, both at the Sejm and Senate, on the scope and purpose of the Istanbul Convention as outlined in the Handbook for parliamentarians on the Council of Europe Istanbul Convention, with a view to reaffirming the need to implement convention effectively".

"It is our duty and obligation as parliamentarians to uphold human rights, including the human right of women to live a life free from violence, and we stand ready to work together with parliamentarians and authorities in all Council of Europe member States" - the authors of the statement underscored.

READ THE FULL STATEMENT BY THE PARLIAMENTARY ASSEMBLY OF THE COUNCIL OF EUROPE

Justice minister's motion

Poland's justice minister Zbigniew Ziobro on Monday formally asked the ministry of family to begin a procedure of withdrawing Poland from the Instanbul Convention.

Minister Ziobro argued that the convention contains provisions "of ideological character", which his ministry disagrees with. In his opinion, there are no solutions in the document which Poland hasn't implemented already, and in some areas Polish standards are higher than those set by the convention.

The Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, better known as the Istanbul Convention, was opened for signature on 11 May 2011, in Istanbul, Turkey. Poland signed the convention in December 2012, and ratified it in 2015.

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Źródło: TVN24 News in English, PAP

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