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Yes to Family, No to Gender – Legislative Initiative Committee registered in the Sejm

Published: 31.08.2020

Ordo Iuris

The Sejm has registered the Citizens’ Initiative Committee “Yes to Family, No to Gender”. The initiative is aimed at terminating the Istanbul Convention by the Polish government. The Committee has submitted the first 3,500 signatures under the project. The Istanbul Convention undermines the rights of families and imposes ideological demands on countries that have ratified it. The organisations forming the Committee, including the Ordo Iuris Institute and the Christian Social Congress, also demand that the Polish authorities present the International Convention on the Rights of the Family at the European forum. 


The Istanbul Convention undermines the foundations of the Polish legal order by questioning the autonomy and identity of the family and restricts the right to raise children by their parents, which is in breach of Article 48 of the Polish Constitution. It also infringes the freedom of conscience (Article 53 of the Constitution) and the protection of the rights of the child (Article 72 of the Constitution). Family parental rights ignored by the Convention are also guaranteed by acts of international law, including the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.

Contrary to constitutional standards, the Convention forces the authorities to uproot traditions and customs related to the roles of women and men (Article 12 of the Convention). By targeting the basic social institutions, it removes barriers that protect against violence. The Convention authors disregarded the actual causes of violence, such as family breakdown, addictions or sexualisation of a woman’s image, and see the causes in the traditional gender roles instead. The document treats victims of violence in an instrumental way, using them for the promotion of ideological demands. Research shows that in the countries that have adopted solutions proposed in the Convention (e.g. Denmark, Finland, Sweden), the rate of domestic violence is much higher than in Poland.

Poland uses effective measures to combat violence. Polish standards on reporting and responding to acts of domestic violence and the protection of victims are much higher than the Istanbul Convention implies. They include, among others, the possibility to remove the perpetrator from the house without the need to institute criminal proceedings.

Instead of the Istanbul Convention, the Committee proposes the adoption of the International Convention on the Rights of the Family. This document guarantees the fundamental rights of spouses, parents and children. It also protects the family from any excessive interference of the state. The Convention also offers effective means of counteracting violence, including domestic violence.

“The initiative aims to authorise the government by parliament to terminate the flawed Istanbul Convention and commence works on the new, ideology-free and science-based Convention on the Rights of the Family. The Istanbul Convention erroneously assumes that violence is a structural phenomenon unrelated to social deviance, and thus incorrectly identifies the causes of domestic violence. We are pleased that Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has decided to submit a request to the Constitutional Tribunal to review the constitutionality of the Istanbul Convention,” stressed Karolina Pawłowska, Director of the Centre of International Law of the Ordo Iuris Institute.

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