Fundamental rights are under threat in Poland and across the EU
During a debate at the European Parliament in Strasbourg on the deteriorating fundamental rights situation in Poland, S&D MEPs strongly condemned the announcement from the Polish government that they would withdraw from the Istanbul Convention on preventing violence against women.
The debate came after the Parliament voted on its annual report of the fundamental rights situation in the EU, which highlighted the dangerous situation that millions of people face across Europe. S&D Group Spokesperson for Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, Birgit Sippel, said: “The decision of the Polish government to withdraw from the Istanbul Convention is just the latest in a string of decisions that threaten the fundamental rights of Polish citizens. One in three women in the EU has experienced physical or sexual violence. It is incomprehensible that an EU state could fail to recognise the seriousness of this issue and can shirk its responsibility to tackle gender based violence. We call on the Polish government to reverse its decision as soon as possible.
“The government must also act to resolve the ongoing constitutional crisis in the country. The European Commission has issued a series of recommendations to the Polish government and these must now be followed in full.
"After Hungary, the unfolding constitutional crisis in Poland clearly shows the need for a permanent and objective mechanism for monitoring the rule of law in all Member States. Already in October, the European Parliament has urged the European Commission to come forward with a concrete proposal on such a mechanism. The ball is now in the court of the Commission."
S&D Group co-ordinator for the report on the situation of fundamental rights in the EU, Péter Niedermüller added:
“The fundamental rights of citizens are under threat in Poland but also across the EU. In particular women face serious threats to their sexual and reproductive health. This report backs our view that preventing access to safe abortion is a serious breach of women’s human rights.
“We need to do more to ensure that the rights of minorities are respected. Many EU citizens face violence or discrimination on the basis of their gender identity or their sexuality. We are calling on the Commission to come up with a framework to ensure equal rights and opportunities for all citizens and to ensure that EU legislation acts to advance equality for LGBTI individuals.
“We also want to see real action to tackle anti-gypsyism and the systemic and institutional racism that many Roma people face in the field of labour, housing, education and access to justice. We call on Member States to act rapidly to implement Roma strategies to improve the lives of Roma people.”
“Lastly, we must act to ensure the fundamental rights of migrants and asylum seekers are ensured. The lack of humanity shown at Europe’s borders in the last year is a stain on all of us.”