The review of Poland under the Fourth cycle of the Universal Periodic Review was held on 15 November 2022 by the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review. Two days after the Working Group adopted the report on Poland containing 433 recommendations to improve the protection of human rights as regards its full spectrum covered by the international human rights treaties.
In the area of sexual and reproductive rights Poland has received recommendations from 17 States. Most of them demand from Poland to liberalise access to abortion and decriminalise abortion. When asked about abortion, Polish delegation declared that Poland is not party to any international convention that envisage the right to abortion as a human right.
FEDERA with its partner submitted the UPR report to the Human Rights Council calling on States to issue ambitious recommendations covering all the aspect of sexual and reproductive health and access to comprehensive sexuality education. We engaged with the States’ representatives in Warsaw and Geneva explaining the realities faced by women in Poland as regards all the stages of their reproductive life during which they require access to essential health services.
Below are all 17 recommendations concerning sexual and reproductive health and rights in the original versions:
- Ensure the universal protection of the rights of women and girls to access safe and legal abortions, including refugees (Australia);
- Ensure effective access to safe and legal abortion (Austria);
- Ensure legal, timely and effective access to both safe abortion and contraception (Belgium);
- Ensure that safe and legal abortions are accessible in practice, in keeping with the 1993 Act on Family Planning, and amend Article 152.2 of the Polish Penal Code, which criminalizes any form of support to pregnant women seeking an abortion (Canada);
- Intensify efforts to protect and promote women’s rights, including sexual and reproductive health and rights in line with international human rights law and standards (Czechia);
- Ensure timely and effective access to sexual and reproductive health services and to refrain from criminalizing their provision (Finland);
- Ensure full access of women and girls to sexual and reproductive health rights (France);
- Legalize the voluntary interruption of pregnancy in cases of incest and serious malformation of the fetus; and guarantee access to sexual and reproductive health services for all women (Mexico);
- Improve significantly women’s rights by implementing initiatives to prevent domestic and gender-based violence, by changing the legal definition of rape and by reversing the restrictive new abortion law (Norway);
- Step up efforts to combat violence against women and girls, namely by implementing the Istanbul Convention of the Council of Europe and ensure them full access to health services, including sexual and reproductive health (Portugal);
- Ensure full access to reproductive health services (Slovenia);
- Safeguard women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights (South Africa);
- Decriminalize abortion through the approval of a law of terms that allows the interruption of pregnancy in all cases (Spain);
- Decriminalise abortion in all cases and ensure that women have the right to decide over their own bodies, including through ensuring women’s access to necessary professional health services (Sweden);
- Ensure effective access to timely and non-discriminatory sexual and reproductive health care and services, decriminalize abortion in all cases, and ensure that women and girls have access to safe and legal abortion in accordance with the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (Switzerland);
- Ensure that all women, in rural and urban areas, have access to health services, including sexual and reproductive health care (Tunisia);
- Improve access to sexual and reproductive services, information, and education, including ensuring access to legal and safe abortion services without discrimination (New Zealand);