Polish Minister of Justice, Zbigniew Ziobro, and Minister of Family, Labor and Social Policy, Marlena Maląg, both announced that Poland will soon start the process of withdrawal from the Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, also known as the Istanbul Convention. The current ruling party, Law and Justice, has been known for lack of support for the Convention, with statements from the members of the Party including quotes such as “[the Convention being] a feminist invention that is meant to justify gay ideology” (Ziobro, 2014).
Minister Ziobro has said that the Convention is “harmful” and “contains elements of an ideological nature” and is therefore dangerous for the public. One of the reasons for this decision is to be a recent change in Polish law, introducing internal systems of support for victims of domestic violence which Minister Ziobro claims to be sufficient and on “top-European and global level”.
The Convention was ratified by Poland back in 2015, under the rule of government of a now-opposition Centrist party, Civic Platform.
The Great Coalition for Equality and Choice, a Polish network of over 100 NGO’s working for sexual and reproductiove & women’s rights, has issued an open letter regarding the situation. The Coalition has also co-organised a spontaneous protest in Warsaw and 25 other Polish cities on Sunday, a day after the announcent of governmental plans to withdraw from the Convention.