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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

France and Other EU States Should Act Decisively to Protect Rights in the EU

“I will go to an ‘LGBT-free zone’ in Poland,’” said Clément Beaune, French Secretary of State for European Affairs, in a December interview in which he also publicly came out as a gay man. But when he asked to visit Kraśnik, authorities denied him…
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News
For 30 days, beginning January 17, European Union commissioners received daily Twitter notifications linking to personal stories of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Poles who have been harmed  by the  so-called “LGBT Ideology…
People take part in a gay pride parade in Warsaw, Poland, Saturday, June 8, 2019.
News

Authorities Should Release Margot Szutowicz in Line with Calls by European Parliament and Council of Europe

Warsaw police have arrested a nonbinary activist, Margot Szutowicz, who has been placed in pretrial detention, in the latest example of Polish authorities’ anti-LGBT actions. Forty-eight other people, from a crowd of LGBT rights supporters protesting…
Activist Malgorzata Szutowicz, center, known as Margot, before being arrested in Warsaw, Poland,
News

Respect Freedom of Expression, Equality for Everyone

(Brussels) – Polish authorities should stop trying to silence activists who support lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people’s rights, and instead promote and protect the right to equality, Human Rights Watch said today. In recent weeks,…
The Mermaid of Warsaw statue is seen holding the LGBT rainbow flag and wearing a pink mask with the anarcha-queer symbol in Warsaw, Poland July 29, 2020 in this image taken from social media.
Report
Summary I would like you to pass on our voice. It’s not a voice. It’s a cry of pain. We have been here in Lebanon because they not only raped us, they also raped our land and dignity. —Male survivor of conflict-related sexual violence in Syria,…
News

Survivors in Lebanon Lack Needed Services

(Beirut) – Syrian state and non-state actors have subjected men, boys, transgender women, and nonbinary people to sexual violence during the Syrian conflict, resulting in severe physical and mental health consequences which are compounded by a lack of…
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News

Men, Transgender Women Particularly Vulnerable, Lacking Services

During Syria’s civil war, many people have been subjected to sexual violence, resulting in ongoing trauma. Many of these victims are men and they have described how such violence gets worse if they are considered gay, or “soft” as the local term…
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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

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

Police Action in Lublin Should Set Example for All Polish Authorities

Police in Lublin, Poland took action to protect participants in a pride march last Saturday from anti-LGBT protesters, who, according to a media report, tried to stop the march and attack the marchers with eggs. Such action should stand…
Thousands of people take part in the Equality March in Lublin city, Poland, September 28, 2019.
News

Discriminatory Campaign Highlights Rising Political Homophobia

A court in Poland has ruled that a newspaper must stop including hateful “LGBT-Free Zone” stickers in its publications. The Warsaw District Court ordered Gazeta Polska, a government-aligned newspaper, to halt distribution of the…
"LGBT-free zone" stickers inside the weekly edition of the conservative Polish Gazeta Polska magazine
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

Fact-based Sex Education That Recognizes LGBT People Saves Lives

In an apparent attempt to boost its popularity ahead of upcoming elections, Poland’s ruling Law and Justice Party is once again scapegoating lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people and sexual and reproductive health. After…
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News
  In January, a colleague of mine at Human Rights Watch predicted that 2018 would be the “year of the courts” for LGBT people’s rights. Seven months into the year, courts around the world have indeed come down with important rulings that…
The Indian Supreme Court building in New Delhi, India.
News

Ruling Shows the Importance of Judicial Independence

Last week, Poland’s Supreme Court ruled that an employee of a print shop could not refuse to print a banner for an LGBT organization because he did not want, in his eyes, to “promote” the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender,…
People take part in the annual "Equality Parade" rally of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) rights supporters in Warsaw, Poland June 3, 2017.
News

Videos, Report Highlight Issues of Identity, Activism

(Beirut, April 16, 2018) – Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) activists from Arabic-speaking countries in the Middle East and North Africa are defying state-sponsored repression and social stigma, Human Rights Watch and the…
No Longer Alone
News

Respond to Youth Demands, Gain Respect in the World

(Beirut) – Middle East and North Africa (MENA) governments can respond to the popular demands of the region’s youth for reform by implementing five changes in 2018 to arbitrary, outdated legal systems that infringe upon citizens’ rights and liberties,…
Demonstration outside Parliament on December 6, 2016, with women in white dresses and wrapped in bandages, calling for the repeal of article 522 of the penal code.
News

For all his promises — and a Nobel Peace Prize — the Obama presidency delivered more hope than change

As Donald Trump prepares to take office, many fear a new hostility to human rights on the part of the United States. From his divisive rhetoric about minorities to his embrace of autocrats abroad, there is plenty to worry about.  Trump…
U.S. President Barack Obama waves at the conclusion of his final State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress in Washington January 12, 2016.
News
This week Poland’s parliament has the chance to improve the lives of transgender people by passing a law that simplifies the legal gender recognition procedure. Recognition before the law in your preferred gender is a vital aspect of ensuring…
Poland Gender Accordance Act