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On Saturday, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General Zbigniew Ziobro announced that a legislative proposal which would begin the process of Poland’s withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention is ready and will be submitted to the Ministry of Family on Monday.

The Council of Europe’s Secretary General Marija Pejcinović Burić commented on his decision. „Announcements by government officials that Poland should withdraw from the Istanbul Convention are alarming. The Istanbul Convention is the Council of Europe‘s key international treaty to combat violence against women and domestic violence - and that is its sole objective” – she wrote in her statement. Daniel Holtgen, Secretary General’s Spokesperson and the Deputy Secretary General, shared a part of the statement on his Twitter.

Leaving the Istanbul Convention would be highly regrettable and a major step backwards in the protection of women against violence in Europe” –Pejcinović Burić wrote.

The Secretary General, who had studied in Warsaw back in the 90’s, emphasized that in case of any misconceptions or misunderstanding related to the Convention, the Council is “ready to clarify them in a constructive dialogue”.  

Zbigniew Ziobro concluded that the Polish law meets all conditions regarding the protection of victims of domestic violence advocated in the Convention and even goes beyond them. The government’s issue with the Convention lies with its definition of gender as “the socially constructed roles, behaviours, activities and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for women and men”, and its provisions relating to LGBT rights.

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