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MEPs of the EP Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality visited Poland from 22 - 24 May.

MEPs observed the situation of women’s rights in the country with a special focus on the implementation of the Istanbul convention and victims of violence, sexual and reproductive rights and women’s economic empowerment. 

The delegation composed of Maria ARENA (S&D, Belgium), Malin BJÖRK (GUE/NGL, Sweden), Terry REINTKE (Greens, Germany) and Daniela AIUTO (EFDD, Italy) met with representatives of the civil society, Polish authorities, Deputies and Senators, academics, human rights professionals and service providers in order to gain an in-depth understanding of the situation on women's rights in Poland. 


MEPs are very pleased to have received the assurance of the Government of Poland of its commitment to the Istanbul Convention in view of not only maintaining it, but also of fully implementing it. Furthermore, the Members consider positive the objective of the Government to fight against poverty.


Concerns about access to legal and safe abortion


On the other hand the Delegation has serious concerns that the application of the current law regulating access to abortion does not provide a guarantee of legal and safe abortion. Moreover, concerns persist that the said law could possibly become more restrictive in future.


The Delegation reiterates the European Parliament's position that denial of access to sexual and reproductive health services including abortion is a violation of fundamental women's rights and asks the Government to ensure the full implementation of the national legislation. Members stress the importance of active prevention, information and education policies which would inevitably include the access to contraception and the non-discriminatory sex education which keeps in step with the times. 


The Members are further concerned about the shrinking public space for the civil society and emphasize the importance of ensuring diversity of voices in a democratic society. In that regard, it is imperative that the Commission pays close attention to this phenomenon and ensures that the women's rights organisations are adequately funded, in particular to deliver the needed specialized support and protection services to women, in accordance with the Victims' Rights Directive.