Poland to withdraw from European treaty aimed at preventing violence towards women

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By Mark Armstrong  with EVN/ AFP
Poland to withdraw from European treaty aimed at preventing violence towards women
Copyright  Czarek Sokolowski/Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Poland's right-wing government says it will withdraw from a European treaty aimed at preventing violence against women.

The Istanbul Convention is the world's first binding instrument to prevent violence against women but the Polish Justice Minister, Zbigniew Ziobro, described the text as "harmful" because it requires that schools teach children about gender from a sociological point of view.

Ziobro said over the weekend that on Monday he will begin preparing the formal process to withdraw from the treaty.

"This ideological element is linked to the imperative to change education in schools and outside of school programs, in terms of learning, attitudes, convictions of the young Polish generation of students to make, in our opinion, the false assumption that biological sex is archaic, and in fact everything comes down to the socio-cultural gender."

In Ziobro's opinion, the convention's articles concerning the education of children and young people as well as family relationships in the LGBT context are not acceptable.

"We also reject the LGBT element of promoting family relationships, a view propagated by activists from left-wing or homosexual circles who want to translate their beliefs into binding law," he said.

The Council of Europe said on Sunday it is "alarmed" that Poland is aiming to withdraw from the Convention.

In Warsaw on Friday, around 2,000 people including women's groups and other rights activists held a demonstration in front of the offices of Ordo Luris, a right-wing organisation that supports withdrawal from the convention.

"We will not be victims" they chanted.

Demonstrations were also held in other Polish cities.

Poland signed the Istanbul Convention for the prevention and combating of violence against women and domestic violence in December 2012 and ratified it in 2015.