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Extreme ideology instead of combating violence - analysis of the Istanbul Convention and GREVIO documents

Published: 02.10.2020

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The Istanbul Convention is a document that constantly causes controversy both in Poland and in other European countries. Under the guise of combating violence, it introduces many radical proposals of gender ideology. The documents issued by GREVIO, i.e. the committee that oversees the implementation of the Convention, are similar in nature. They, for example, reduce gender to the rank of a social construct and call for the eradication of culturally established patterns of behaviour. The Ordo Iuris Institute has prepared an analysis presenting the doctrinal sources of the Istanbul Convention and the documents published by GREVIO.




The analysis of Ordo Iuris indicates that both the provisions of the Istanbul Convention and the content of the documents issued by GREVIO, are clearly ideological in nature. The Committee has a number of important powers related to overseeing the implementation of the Istanbul Convention and to making recommendations on its implementation by national authorities. In the future, it is possible that the powers of GREVIO will be extended to include the possibility of examining individual cases, as it is the case with a part of other such bodies.


As the authors of the analysis indicate, GREVIO develops the paradigm of 'gender-motivated violence' introduced by the Convention. The Committee also refers to the concepts of gender ideology that have their origins in Marxism. The concept of gender means that femininity and masculinity are merely social constructs that have been imposed as a result of men's social domination. Thus, assuming a female or a male role is, according to gender theorists, a matter of free choice of an individual.


Gender-motivated violence is to be associated with oppression against women. Its source would be the very fact of adopting the 'female role'. GREVIO in particular stresses the allegedly crucial importance of eradicating culturally established patterns of behaviour that the Convention describes as 'gender stereotypes'. Thus, the Istanbul Convention is intended to be a tool for transforming the existing social structures considered to be 'patriarchal', also known as 'the culture of male domination'. At the same time, GREVIO ignores or marginalises the real sources of violence against women - the abuse of alcohol and psychoactive substances, the breakdown of emotional ties between family members, widespread access to violent pornography or the promotion of violence in popular culture.


The main doubts about the Istanbul Convention are caused primarily by the ideological approach to violence and the related lack of accurate identification of the causes of this phenomenon, which result in the document's ineffectiveness. For these reasons, the Ordo Iuris Institute and the Christian Social Congress, along with a coalition of other social organisations, presented a draft citizens' initiative authorising the Polish government to denounce the Istanbul Convention and start working on an ideology-free Convention on the Rights of the Family. Shortly after announcing the creation of the citizens' initiative committee, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki asked the Constitutional Tribunal to examine the Convention, claiming that it contradicts the Polish Constitution.


'What is particularly worrying is that, according to GREVIO, the correct implementation of the provisions of the Convention in national legal systems cannot be achieved unless the principles of gender ideology form its basis, while a "gender neutral" approach to violence, somehow in advance and contrary to the facts, is considered flawed and ineffective. At the same time, GREVIO acknowledges that the Convention is the first document of its kind that addresses the phenomenon of "gender-motivated violence" in a comprehensive and binding manner. Therefore, our analysis shows that GREVIO creatively develops the ideological assumptions of the Istanbul Convention, which is a yet another argument in favour of denouncing this harmful document as soon as possible' - comments attorney Bartosz Zalewski from the Ordo Iuris Legislative Analysis Centre.


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