Sexual and reproductive rights are a pre-requisite of sustainable peace and WPS implementation! GNWP stands in solidarity with the Women’s Strike in Poland.

Sexual and reproductive rights are a pre-requisite of sustainable peace and WPS implementation! GNWP stands in solidarity with the Women’s Strike in Poland.

November 4, 2020

The Global Network of Women Peacebuilders (GNWP) stands in solidarity with thousands of protesters in Poland calling for the respect for women’s sexual and reproductive rights.

Thousands have taken to the streets following the ruling of the Poland’s Constitutional Court on 22 October 2020 that abortion in cases of severe fetal defects is “unconstitutional”. The decision follows controversial reforms of the country’s judiciary, which international observers feared would affect the Court’s independence and “undermine rule of law”. The latest ruling further restricts Poland’s abortion law – which was already among the most restrictive in Europe. During the biggest protest day on Friday, 30 October, the police estimated that 430,000 women and men marched in 400 demonstrations across the country – from small towns to major cities.

Guaranteeing full sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) is a key element of a “survivor-centered” approach to sexual violence stipulated by the United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 2467 on Women, Peace and Security (WPS). The UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) has also made it clear that full access to SRHR is a “prerequisite for safeguarding women’s human rights”. At GNWP, we believe that SRHR is an essential element of the implementation of WPS resolutions and a necessary element of sustainable peace. Poland is a Member State of the UN, has a National Action Plan on WPS, and has also ratified CEDAW. It has an obligation to respect, protect and promote women’s human rights including sexual and reproductive health and rights.

We stand in solidarity with the peaceful protesters in Poland, and call on the Polish Government to listen to their demands, in particular:

  • the call for guaranteeing full scope of reproductive rights, including access to safe abortion, free contraception and high standards of maternal healthcare.
  • the call for the implementation of the Istanbul Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence.
  • the call to improve women’s economic situation, including by valuing women’s care work and closing the gender pay gap; and
  • the call to ensure the rule of law and respect for human rights of all in the country.

We also express deep concern about the reports of police brutality towards the peaceful protests. The use of tear gas, arbitrary arrests, and deployment of riot police to meet the protesters are uncalled for and are a violation of the right to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression. We call on the Polish police force to respect and protect the full scope of human rights of the Polish people.

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