FEDERATION’S STATEMENTS AT THE 48TH SESSION OF THE UN HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL

4 October —

  • On 1 October the Federation presented its statement at the debate on Universal Periodic Reviews in the context of Poland’s upcoming review in 2020. We urged Human Rights Council and all member states to hold our government accountable for obligations to ensure right to safe, legal and accessible abortion, modern contraception and comprehensive sexuality education.
  • On 4 October our statement was read out for the occasion of the International Safe Abortion Day. As each year we demanded the right to free, safe and accessible abortion and reiterated that the way in which the Polish State interferes with our intimate and private life is violent and constitutes abuse of power.
  • On 4 October the Joint Civil Society Statement was presented at the session, signed by 372 civil society organisations including FEDERA. More here

Full statements:

 

GENERAL DEBATE ON ITEM 6

Statement on behalf of the Federation for Women and Family Planning from Poland

“UPR has the potential to be a powerful tool for change. Unfortunately, States often use it as a public relations exercise.  During the previous UPR cycle, Poland accepted 8 recommendations on access to abortion and other sexual and reproductive health services. In its 2019 mid-term report Poland just cited legal provisions, without giving any evidence of implementation.

Poland is far from implementing these recommendations. On the contrary, it commits more violations of women’s rights to decide about their bodies, pregnancies and lives. As a result of the illegitimate Constitutional Tribunal’s decision of October 2020 the ban on abortion is quasi total and women who seek abortion on foetal condition grounds are left without any State assistance. The devastating human rights consequences of this retrogression have been widely criticized, including by Special Procedures.  Moreover, Poland is the last in Europe as regards access to contraception, and there is no comprehensive sexuality education available for children and adolescents. 

Our needs to access these services are urgent and real, human stories stand behind them. The way in which the Polish State interferes with our intimate and private life is violent.

We call on you not to disregard our rights. As you prepare to review Poland in the next UPR cycle in 2022, we urge this Council and all member states to hold our government accountable for its obligations rather than engage in a box-ticking exercise full of pro forma declarations.

 

Urszula Grycuk presenting our statement at HRC48.

 

GENERAL DEBATE ON ITEM 8

Statement on behalf of the Federation for Women and Family Planning from Poland

“Contrary to the Vienna Declaration, women and girls in Poland are still not enjoying their right to decide about their bodies, pregnancies and lives.

On the International Day of Safe Abortion, this year again, we demand our human right to free, safe and accessible abortion, without anyone asking us why.

We reiterate UN’s experts’ recent statement that abortion is essential health care and a human right and must be taken out of the realm of politics . The State’s duty is to provide us with a safe and enabling space to make our decisions relating to private lives. This is not the case of Poland. After the last year illegitimate CT’s decisions women cannot access abortion on almost any grounds. The way in which the Polish State interferes with our intimate and private life is violent and constitutes abuse of power.

On behalf of women’s rights organisations in Poland we claim back our right to abortion. Now.