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Anniversary Marks Ongoing Assault on Women’s Rights, Rule of Law

(Brussels) – Women, girls, and all pregnant people have faced extreme barriers to accessing legal abortions in the year since a Constitutional Tribunal ruling virtually banned legal abortion in Poland, 14 human rights organizations said today. Since…
Women take part in a demonstration against the Polish abortion law, in Wroclaw, Poland, on March 17, 2021.
News

Mark Istanbul Convention’s 10th Anniversary with Action

(Berlin) – Council of Europe member states should reinforce efforts to combat violence against women by swiftly ratifying and carrying out a landmark regional convention on women’s rights, Human Rights Watch said today. Human Rights Watch released…
People gathered in Istanbul in March 2021 to protest Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's decision to withdraw from the Istanbul Convention, a treaty designed to safeguard women from gender-based violence. 
News

Investigate, Protect Rights Defenders, End Hateful Rhetoric

Update: Poland’s Ministry of the Interior responded to Human Rights Watch’s request for information and comment on our findings in a four-page letter dated April 8, 2021. The letter states that the government adheres to international law guaranteeing…
Protesters hold a banner of Strajk Kobiet (Women's Strike) during a protest in Warsaw on March 8,  International Women's Day, organized by the Women's Strike (Strajk Kobiet) against the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party and the decision of the Constitutional Court.
News

European Commission Should Hold Government Accountable for Violating Fundamental Rights

The message was clear at this week’s European Parliament hearing on Poland’s near-ban on abortion: the European Commission should act decisively to protect the lives and rights of women and girls and stop erosion of the values on which the European…
Women's rights activists, holding posters of the Women's Strike action, protest further tightening of Poland's restrictive abortion law in front of the parliament building in Warsaw, Poland, on Tuesday, October 27, 2020.
News

As domestic violence rates soar in Europe under COVID-19 restrictions, women’s groups protest government inaction from Poland to Turkey.

As violence against women repeatedly grabs headlines during the COVID-19 pandemic, women across Europe are at the forefront of mass protests demanding government action to protect women from abuse. Some argue that women shouldn’t risk their lives…
Protesters with a banner reading "Women's Strike" take part in a rally against the Polish government’s plans to withdraw from the Istanbul Convention on prevention and combating of domestic violence, in Warsaw, Poland, July 24, 2020. © 2020 AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski
News

NGOs call to drop unfounded charges for peaceful activism

Unfounded charges of “offending religious beliefs” are being brought against three women human rights defenders in Poland for simply exercising their right to freedom of expression, a coalition of six nongovernmental groups said today. The first…
News
(Berlin) – The Polish Constitutional Tribunal’s ruling to invalidate the constitutionality of access to abortion on the ground of “severe and irreversible fetal defect or incurable illness that threatens the fetus’ life” will further harm women and…
Protestors prepare to take part in a car demonstration organized by Women's Strike against imposing further restrictions on abortion law in Poland.
News

Government Threatening to Leave Domestic Violence Treaty

Poland’s justice minister Zbigniew Ziobro confirmed on Saturday that he will pursue withdrawal from a landmark European treaty on violence against women. This is a worrying policy move on the part of the government, led by the Law and Justice party,…
Protesters with a banner reading "Women's Strike" take part in a rally against the Polish government’s plans to withdraw from the Istanbul Convention on prevention and combating of domestic violence, in Warsaw, Poland, July 24, 2020. © 2020 AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski
News

Don’t Manipulate Pandemic to Endanger Women, Adolescents

UPDATE: On April 16, 2020, the Polish Parliament sent both the “Stop Abortion” bill and the “Stop Pedophilia” bill to committee for “further work.” This decision means neither bill has been rejected, but further consideration has been postponed…
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News

New Government Should Suspend Abusive Laws

(Tunis) – Tunisia’s new government, approved by Parliament on February 27, 2020, should make human rights a priority, Human Rights Watch said today. The government should protect fundamental rights in eight key areas: ending criminal…
A general view of the Assembly of the Representatives of the People in Tunis, Tunisia, May 2016.
News

Lack of a Constitutional Court Hinders Rights

(Tunis) – Tunisia still faces numerous hurdles to protecting its human rights gains nine years after Tunisians ousted the authoritarian President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2020.    The…
A Tunisian woman walks past a graffiti that reads "Freedom is a daily practice" in Tunis April 26, 2011.
News

Young People Need Access to Comprehensive Sex Education

Threatening sex educators with jail may seem extreme – but it seems Poland’s ruling Prawo i Sprawiedliwość (PiS) party is willing to go there to cement power by generating fear and misinformation. Fueling intolerance and…
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News

Response to LGBT-Themed Artwork Threatens Free Speech, Gender Equality

(Berlin) – The arrest of a woman over a picture of a religious icon with a rainbow halo on May 6, 2019 is the latest attempt by Polish authorities to target LGBT and gender equality activists. Government officials allege the work is blasphemous and…
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News

Teachers Threatened After Taking a Photograph Supporting Equality Protests

Since that day, October 3, 2016, that one simple photograph which first appeared on Facebook, has been splashed over Polish newspapers, social media, and debated far and wide. Some of the women in it have been ostracized by colleagues, seen their careers…
Ewa Wnorowska and her colleagues pose for a photograph in support of women's rights in Poland
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The Polish government is attacking women’s rights activists and organizations, putting women’s rights and safety at risk. More than two years after the first Black Protests, when thousands took to the streets to protest efforts to further restrict access…
News

Attacks by Government Put Women, Services at Risk

(Brussels) – The Polish government is targeting women’s rights activists and organizations, putting women’s rights and safety at risk, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. More than two years after the first mass protests against…
Women’s rights supporters at a demonstration for International Women’s Day in Krakow, Poland, on March 8, 2018. The center sign uses the slogan “No Woman, No Country.”
Report
  Summary On October 3, 2016, thousands of demonstrators filled streets across Poland to protest the ruling Law and Justice (Prawo i Sprawiedliwość, PiS) party’s attempt to enact a complete abortion ban. #CzarnyProtest (Black…