Poland’s right-wing government is officially planning to leave the Istanbul Convention, a European treaty against domestic violence. Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro stated he will formally ask the Ministry of Family on Monday to start the process to leave the treaty (AP). Ziobro stated the treaty is “harmful” because it forces schools to teach about gender, and that recent reforms are sufficient to protect women in Poland (BBC). Upon the convention’s ratification in 2015, Ziobro called it “a feminist creation aimed at justifying gay ideology.” (Brussels Times).
The Istanbul Convention is the world’s first treaty to prevent violence specifically towards women, ranging from marital abuse to female genital mutilation (Brussels Times). Council of Europe Secretary General Marija Pejcinovic Buric stated the move is “alarming” and would be a “step backwards” in protecting women from domestic violence in Europe (AP). The decision caused a wave of protests in Poland, with one protestor saying the goal is to “legalize domestic violence.” (Brussels Times). The ruling Law and Justice Party is closely aligned with the Catholic Church, leading to recent anti-LGBTQ+ measures.