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Yes to the denunciation of the Istanbul Convention. The official collection of signatures has begun

Published: 14.10.2020

Ordo Iuris

The Marshal of ‘Sejm’ Elżbieta Witek has adopted a notification of the establishment of a Committee of Legislative Initiative “Yes to the family, no to gender ideology”. Its purpose is to denounce the gender-focused Istanbul Convention by Poland and to begin working on the Convention on the Rights of the Family. The registration of the Committee shall mean the start of the official collection of signatures under the draft law. The Istanbul Convention undermines the rights of families and imposes ideological and ineffective solutions on the countries which have ratified it.

The Istanbul Convention is a document which, despite the expiry of five years from its adoption, still raises important controversy. It was built on gender ideology, which views femininity and masculinity solely as social constructs, independent of the objective conditions arising from biology, and sees the existence of sexual roles as a source of violence and discrimination. The introduction of this controversial paradigm of combating violence is incompatible with a number of provisions of the Polish Constitution. First of all, the introduction of an ambiguous gender definition is contrary to Article 18, which protects the family, the identity of the marriage and the principle of a democratic rule of law (Article 2). By imposing compulsory education on so-called non-stereotypical gender roles, the Convention is also a violation of the right of parents to raise children in accordance with their own convictions, guaranteed by Article 48 of the Constitution of the Republic of Poland. The Convention also threatens the principles of freedom of conscience (Article 53 of the Constitution) and the protection of the rights of the child (Article 72 of the Constitution).

Contrary to the official name, the document does not provide effective means of protection against violence. As already mentioned, it wrongly identifies the causes of this phenomenon by looking for them in the existence of gender roles. At the same time, the Convention omits social pathologies such as addiction, family disintegration and sexual image of women in the media. It does not address in any way the problem of pornography, which very often shows women as objects and is also increasingly available to young boys. Research shows that in countries where the introduced methods of combating violence are similar to those adopted in the Istanbul Convention (e.g. Denmark, Sweden), the rate of violence is higher than in Poland. For this moment, 13 countries of the Council of Europe have not adopted the document, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Bulgaria or the United Kingdom. Poland is the only state of the Visegrád Group that has ratified this controversial document.

The Committee of Legislative Initiative “Yes to the family, no to gender ideology” was initiated by the Institute of Ordo Iuris, the Christian Social Congress and a number of other family-friendly organisations. In addition to the denunciation of the Istanbul Convention, its aim is to begin work on the International Convention on the Rights of the Family. The objective of this document is to protect the rights and autonomy of the family and to introduce effective, knowledge-based solutions to combat violence and assist its victims.

“We are starting to collect signatures for a citizens’ initiative, which aims to denounce the malfunctioning Istanbul Convention and replace it with an ideologically free and effective science-based solution to the Convention on the Rights of the Family. It is intended to protect the family and its autonomy and to introduce viable and effective anti-violence solutions,” stressed Karolina Pawłowska, Director of the Centre for International Law Ordo Iuris

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