International Law in Brief
Poland Announces Plans to Withdraw from Istanbul Convention
By: Emma Schoenberger | August 3, 2020 - 9:31am
On July 25, 2020, Poland’s Minister of Justice, Zbigniew Ziobro, announced that Poland would begin taking steps to withdraw from the Istanbul Convention. In his statement (original summary in Polish), Ziobro noted that withdrawing from the Convention does not mean that victims of violence would lose protection under the law. He emphasized that Poland’s domestic law already demands a level of protection for women consistent with the terms of the Convention. Explaining Poland’s reasons for withdrawing, he stated that some of the practices the Convention mandates may be in conflict with Polish citizens’ religious beliefs or personal ideologies and therefore violate their constitutional rights.
JURIST reports that the announcement “spurr[ed] an uproar among EU leaders, human rights organizations and activists worldwide.” In a statement released on July 30, 2020, Jelena Drenjanin, the Council of Europe’s Congress Spokesperson on Gender Equality, said, “[q]uestioning this major treaty, or slowing down its ratification, is a worrying alert and a serious setback for women's rights.”