Women’s rights in Poland at risk

The Polish Government’s targeted attack on rights activists, endangering women’s rights and security, shows a new report by Human Rights Watch.

More than two years after the first mass protests against the bill to completely ban abortion in Poland, which already has one of the most restrictive abortion laws in Europe, the right-wing populist government party attacks Law and Justice Party (PiS) women’s organizations and rights activists, shows the HRW report “When Government is breathing my neck: Attacks on women’s rights in Poland ».

The attacks are in the form of raids against group offices, funding denials, public swearing campaigns and disciplinary measures, and they often occur unfounded and with little or no warning, according to the report.

HRW has, among other things, discovered that government officials who have supported the female rights groups have had to face disciplinary hearings and have been threatened that they will lose their job if they continue.

It has also been revealed that the government has failed to counter public-sector campaigns against politicians and groups that support the rights organizations and has marked their work as dangerous to families and so-called traditional Polish values. On some occasions, the government should also have supported the campaigns.

“Using scare tactics to undermine these groups is just another attempt by the Polish government to attack women’s rights,” said Hillary Margolis of HRW, who studies women’s rights.

“Activists have been targeted only because they help victims of abuse or because they support fundamental rights to reproductive health and peaceful protests,” she says.

HRW has interviewed 30 activists, representatives of non-governmental organizations and participants in or supporters of women’s rights issues in Poland, as well as government officials.

(© NTB)

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