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Poland: Roll back of reproductive rights is dark day for Polish women

Following the publication by the Polish Constitutional Tribunal of the ruling invalidating the constitutionality of access to abortion on the ground of “severe and irreversible foetal defect or incurable illness that threatens the foetus’ life” late last night, Esther Major, Senior Research Adviser at Amnesty International, said: “Today is a terrible day for women and girls in Poland. This harmful ruling roll back on pregnant people's sexual and reproductive rights and puts their health at risk. “This dangerous ruling is the latest in a coordinated and systematic wave of attacks on women’s

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Poland: three women on trial for posters of Virgin Mary with LGBTI rainbow halo

© © 2019 SOPA Images

The women face two years in jail for ‘offending religious beliefs’ 140,000 people call on authorities to drop the charges First hearing scheduled to begin tomorrow Three women in Poland are facing up to two years in jail after sharing posters depicting the Virgin Mary with a halo in the rainbow colours of the LGBTI pride flag. In a joint statement, Amnesty International and other leading human rights organisations have urged the Polish authorities to drop the charges against the three human rights defenders - Elżbieta, Anna and Joanna - ahead of the first hearing in their case, scheduled for

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Poland: authorities must refrain from excessive force during protest against abortion restrictions

© Grzegorz Żukowski/Amnesty International

Large protests expected today Protesters have faced excessive police force and been arbitrarily detained Women in Poland have endured ‘attack after attack on their reproductive rights’ - Nils Muižnieks People peacefully protesting against the new restrictions on abortion in Poland have faced excessive use of force by police officers and have been arbitrarily detained without access to lawyers over the last few days. Ahead of large protests expected today, Draginja Nadazdin, Director of Amnesty International Poland, said: “The massive wave of support for women in Poland is a sign that the

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Poland: 'cruel judgment' further rolls back abortion rights

© Grzegorz Żukowski/Amnesty International

Constitutional Tribunal rules abortion on grounds of ‘severe foetal defect’ is unconstitutional ‘This judgment is the result of a coordinated, systematic wave of attacks on women’s human rights by Polish lawmakers’ - Esther Major The Polish Constitutional Tribunal’s ruling earlier today to invalidate the constitutionality of access to abortion on the ground of “severe and irreversible foetal defect or incurable illness that threatens the foetus’ life”* will further harm women and girls and violates their human rights, Amnesty International, the Centre for Reproductive Rights and Human Rights

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Elżbieta is under investigation for ‘offending religious beliefs'. She could face two years in prison after being accused of owning a poster of the Virgin Mary with a rainbow halo. We are continuing to put pressure on the Polish authorities to stop this ludicrous investigation immediately.


Activists risk jail for poster campaign

Posters 2
days left to take action

On 8 June around 8.30 pm, the house of one of the activists, Anna, a well-known activist in Warsaw, was searched by police. Anna’s teenage daughter and parents were in the house during the search. Her old laptop, phones and a tablet were confiscated. Around midnight, she was transferred in handcuffs to the police station where she remained for the next 41 hours. The police only interrogated her on 10 June and denied her access to her lawyer, who considers the entire treatment a form of harassment. See a public statement issued following her arrest here:
Anna is known to Amnesty International as an outspoken human rights defender who has been taking part in protests in Poland since 2016. She has stood up in defence of women’s rights and helped develop a legal aid network for protesters in Poland. 

The police justified its action arguing that the activist was detained to ensure that she would not destroy evidence related to an open investigation into the replacement of bus advertisements with posters. The posters alleged that the government manipulated statistics about COVID-19. The posters also depicted the Minister of Healthcare, Łukasz Szumowski, dressed as a Knight of Malta holding the sign “Gospel of Łukasz Sz.”, and listed allegations against him. However, the advertisements were replaced on 29 and 30 May and the police action, 10 days later, would appear to make the argument about protecting evidence less persuasive. 

On 9 June, a second activist was arrested in relation to the same poster campaign and placed in detention. He was released after 20 hours of police custody. Charges of ‘theft and burglary’ were pressed against both activists under article 279.1 of the Criminal Code. They risk from one to 10 years in prison, if convicted. See here:…

The right to freedom of expression protects the right to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, including commentary on public affairs, discussion of human rights, and criticism of the authorities.
The authorities are claiming that a damage to property of the value of 100 Euros was inflicted, however the damage is immaterial to the charges of ‘theft and burglary’ brought against the two activists. Amnesty International is concerned that the way the two activists appear to be targeted with baseless charges is consistent with a pattern of harassment of protesters and activists documented by the organization since 2017 in Poland. 
The actions of the Polish authorities may result in a chilling effect on the exercise of right to freedom of expression in Poland and create additional barriers to the work of human rights defenders in the country. Both activists are currently considering a complaint for unlawful detention. 

The content of this urgent action reflects the wishes of the two activists in relation to the disclosure of their identity and right to privacy.  

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Solidarity action: Rainbow Halo

This pride season, join us in showing solidarity to Elżbieta Podleśna who is being targeted for her human rights work.

Rainbow Halo - Solidarity Action

Poland: MPs ‘freeze’ regressive bills on abortion and sex education following protests

‘The voices of the thousands who took part in creative protests this week may have been muffled by face masks, but their message was nonetheless heard loud and clear’ -Draginja Nadazdin MPs in Poland have decided not to pass a bill seeking to further restrict abortion in the country. The controversial bill was debated alongside a bill which also sought to ban sexuality education. Both bills have been forwarded onto subcommittees for further debate, in effect, freezing them for the foreseeable future. Draginja Nadazdin, Amnesty International’s Poland Director, said: “While it is shameful that

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Poland: Judges from 14 European countries to protest judicial crackdown

Judges from at least 14 European countries will march in Warsaw tomorrow (Saturday 11 January) in defence of the rule of law in Poland, as the Polish Senate considers a law which would significantly erode judicial independence. Judges are expected to join the march from the Netherlands, Austria, Greece, Germany, Hungary, Croatia, Portugal, Denmark, France, Italy, Norway, Romania, Estonia and Ireland. Since 2015, the Polish Government has introduced a series of new legislative and policy measures that have already undermined the independence of the judiciary. These include politicising judicial

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Urgent Action: Stop harassment of human rights activist

Police raided the home of prominent human a prominent LGBTI activist, arresting her for "offending religious beliefs".

First UA: 62/19
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