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Universal Periodic Review: an attempt to force Poland to implement ideological demands

Published: 15.11.2022

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· A review of Poland took place today in Geneva as part of the 41st session of the Human Rights Council's Universal Periodic Review (UPR).

· The UPR study took place during a 3.5-hour session conducted by the UPR Working Group - open to any UN member state - in the form of an interactive dialogue.

· Some 80 member states made specific recommendations to Poland, many of which call for reforms in abortion access and the judicial system or presuppose the implementation of the demands of LGBT ideology.

· The Ordo Iuris Institute previously sent a memorandum to UN country ambassadors, along with publications on the issues raised during the review.

· The final report will be adopted on November 18, 2022.

On November 15, Geneva hosted a debate on the state of human rights in Poland as part of the Universal Periodic Review at the 41st Session of the Human Rights Council. The dialogue between the United Nations member states participating in the Session and the country under review is the culmination of the review and the last moment for delegations to exchange views before the drafting and adoption of the final report containing the final recommendations.

During the debate, each delegation presented its own recommendations on measures that Poland should implement, guarantee and strengthen in order to improve the state of human rights in the country. The prelude to the debate was a presentation by the Polish delegation on the reforms undertaken by our country over the past four years to improve the quality of life of Polish citizens and all the efforts made to welcome millions of Ukrainian refugees and guarantee them all the necessary rights and access to services on an equal footing with Polish citizens.

Most of the recommendations made by member states, after highlighting the challenges Poland faced in accepting millions of Ukrainian refugees, focused almost exclusively on issues such as the independence of the judiciary, freedom of expression for the media and journalists, protection of migrants' rights, prevention of discrimination against minorities and the "LGBT community," the introduction of "marriage" between same-sex couples, and safe and legal access to abortion and "sexual and reproductive rights of women and girls."

Delegations from countries such as Germany and Denmark called on Poland to take all necessary measures to combat so-called "hate speech" and hate crimes by amending the Polish Criminal Code and introducing specific provisions for the protection of people based on "gender identity. Sweden and Luxembourg have asked Poland to introduce legislation on same-sex marriage, and Sweden has also asked Poland to decriminalize abortion in all cases. Spain, Ireland, Belgium, Denmark and Portugal stressed the need to fully implement the Istanbul Convention. In contrast, many other member states limited themselves to a general recommendation to combat discrimination based on gender identity, continue the fight against hate crimes and speech against minorities and, above all, ensure women's access to "sexual and reproductive" health.

During the debate, representatives of the Polish Ministry of Justice took the floor to explain the state of Polish legislation on the topic raised by the delegations and provide an overview of the main points of discussion. On the issue of discrimination, the Ministry's experts noted the full protection against discrimination guaranteed by Polish legislation and the Polish Constitution. On the issue of abortion, the representatives explained Polish legislation in this area and stressed that Poland is not a party to any international conventions providing for the so-called right to abortion. Polish experts in the field also provided detailed information on the judicial system.

Approval of the final report, which includes final recommendations, is scheduled for November 18, 2022. Poland may decide after the review to accept the recommendations and implement them for the next review, or reject them.

 - The Universal Periodic Review should first and foremost assess the degree of a country's respect for human rights in the perspective of its international obligations, i.e. in accordance with the provisions of such documents as the UN Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights or other binding acts to which a country is a party, i.e. treaties ratified by the country. The debate that took place in Geneva highlighted attempts to force Poland to change its laws in such areas as access to abortion, the introduction of same-sex "marriages" and the acceptance of more than two sexes. These demands not only have no basis in international law, but are most often the realization of ideological assumptions that have little to do with human rights," commented Veronica Turetta, an analyst at the Ordo Iuris International Law Center.

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