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News

Latest news from IPPF EN

Spotlight

A selection of news from across the Federation

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Ukraine

News item

Call To Action On Ukraine

Organizations urge the EU, European governments, the UN and other donor governments to protect SRHR and provide needed health care.
Africa EU
news item

| 25 February 2022

EU-AU Summit leaves many questions unanswered and crucial topics unaddressed

Joint Civil Society Reaction The African Union - European Union Summit that took place on 17 and 18 February 2022 aimed to deepen cooperation between the EU and the AU “based on shared interests and values” and resulted in a joint-political declaration. It was an opportunity for European leaders to work towards ending not only the COVID-19 pandemic, but also persisting epidemics like HIV, tuberculosis, malaria, and other diseases, by supporting sustainable mechanisms for building health systems worldwide. While we welcome the fact that health was high on the political agenda of the Summit, and Team Europe made wide-ranging commitments in the area of health, it remains unclear how some of these initiatives will be funded, what type of support will be provided (grants, loans, or blended finance), how these initiatives will connect to each other to create a coherent continental approach, or how sustainable they will be in the long run. The call from the AU and civil society to support the waiving of Intellectual Property rights on COVID tools was also not addressed, despite its urgency. We deeply regret the absence of a commitment to the achievement of universal access to Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) in the political declaration, despite the calls made by civil society and youth ahead of the Summit about the importance of prioritising SRHR. SRHR are critical to achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC), as well as gender equality and human development. While we welcome the development of a Team Europe Initiative on SRHR in Sub-Saharan Africa, we call on the EU and the AU to implement ambitious policies and allocate adequate funding to the achievement of SRHR for all. Download our full joint statement below.

Africa EU
news_item

| 24 February 2022

EU-AU Summit leaves many questions unanswered and crucial topics unaddressed

Joint Civil Society Reaction The African Union - European Union Summit that took place on 17 and 18 February 2022 aimed to deepen cooperation between the EU and the AU “based on shared interests and values” and resulted in a joint-political declaration. It was an opportunity for European leaders to work towards ending not only the COVID-19 pandemic, but also persisting epidemics like HIV, tuberculosis, malaria, and other diseases, by supporting sustainable mechanisms for building health systems worldwide. While we welcome the fact that health was high on the political agenda of the Summit, and Team Europe made wide-ranging commitments in the area of health, it remains unclear how some of these initiatives will be funded, what type of support will be provided (grants, loans, or blended finance), how these initiatives will connect to each other to create a coherent continental approach, or how sustainable they will be in the long run. The call from the AU and civil society to support the waiving of Intellectual Property rights on COVID tools was also not addressed, despite its urgency. We deeply regret the absence of a commitment to the achievement of universal access to Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) in the political declaration, despite the calls made by civil society and youth ahead of the Summit about the importance of prioritising SRHR. SRHR are critical to achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC), as well as gender equality and human development. While we welcome the development of a Team Europe Initiative on SRHR in Sub-Saharan Africa, we call on the EU and the AU to implement ambitious policies and allocate adequate funding to the achievement of SRHR for all. Download our full joint statement below.

GBV
news item

| 17 February 2022

Stop all forms of gender-based violence: A manifesto for an inclusive and comprehensive EU gender-based violence policy for all

Together we call on the European Union to adopt a forward-thinking and truly inclusive approach to gender-based violence - that leaves no one behind and strives to achieve real change in the lives of all people, without discrimination. To meaningfully address gender-based violence in the European Union, we must promote inclusion, safety, protection, well-being and effective remedies for those most at risk. In the lead up to International Women’s Day, 8 March, and the expected publication of a draft EU law to address violence against women and domestic violence, the under-signed organisations have adopted this manifesto for a truly inclusive EU law and policy. We welcome the leadership of the European Commission in taking action, and the engagement of the European Parliament, and urge everyone who will be involved in this effort to take an inclusive and intersectional feminist approach. All civil society organisations and Members of European Parliament are invited to join us – sign up to the manifesto here.

GBV
news_item

| 17 February 2022

Stop all forms of gender-based violence: A manifesto for an inclusive and comprehensive EU gender-based violence policy for all

Together we call on the European Union to adopt a forward-thinking and truly inclusive approach to gender-based violence - that leaves no one behind and strives to achieve real change in the lives of all people, without discrimination. To meaningfully address gender-based violence in the European Union, we must promote inclusion, safety, protection, well-being and effective remedies for those most at risk. In the lead up to International Women’s Day, 8 March, and the expected publication of a draft EU law to address violence against women and domestic violence, the under-signed organisations have adopted this manifesto for a truly inclusive EU law and policy. We welcome the leadership of the European Commission in taking action, and the engagement of the European Parliament, and urge everyone who will be involved in this effort to take an inclusive and intersectional feminist approach. All civil society organisations and Members of European Parliament are invited to join us – sign up to the manifesto here.

IWD Poland
news item

| 17 February 2022

Civil society asks Council of the EU to act on rule of law collapse in Poland

As the EU Council prepares to discuss the rule of law situation in Poland at its upcoming meeting on 22 February 2022, FIDH and other civil society organisations from Poland and across the EU draw EU ministers’ attention to recent, alarming developments, pointing to a severe and steady decline in the respect for EU values in the country. These include attempts to undermine judicial independence, refusal to comply with European court’s decisions, attacks on media freedom, and restrictions on civic space. Rule of law deficits are having negative impacts on human rights, particularly on the sexual and reproductive rights of women and on LGBTI people’s rights. In the letter, the signatory organisations urge EU governments to address these developments at next week’s meeting, to adopt recommendations that Polish authorities will have to implement within a clear time frame and/or to hold a vote to establish that the EU core values of respect for democracy, the rule of law and human rights have been seriously breached in Poland. Poland has been under scrutiny by the Council since December 2017, when the European Commission triggered the procedure laid down in Article 7.1 TEU on account of the "clear risk of a serious breach" of the values referred to in Article 2 TEU in the country. Despite the many actions undertaken by EU institutions since 2017, the Polish government has continued to systematically infringe upon EU standards and ignore warnings and decisions from the European Commission, the European Parliament, and the Court of Justice of the European Union. Immediate, effective, and concerted action by the Council is vital to halt attacks against Article 2 principles and reaffirm that rule of law and human rights violations have no place in the EU.

IWD Poland
news_item

| 15 February 2022

Civil society asks Council of the EU to act on rule of law collapse in Poland

As the EU Council prepares to discuss the rule of law situation in Poland at its upcoming meeting on 22 February 2022, FIDH and other civil society organisations from Poland and across the EU draw EU ministers’ attention to recent, alarming developments, pointing to a severe and steady decline in the respect for EU values in the country. These include attempts to undermine judicial independence, refusal to comply with European court’s decisions, attacks on media freedom, and restrictions on civic space. Rule of law deficits are having negative impacts on human rights, particularly on the sexual and reproductive rights of women and on LGBTI people’s rights. In the letter, the signatory organisations urge EU governments to address these developments at next week’s meeting, to adopt recommendations that Polish authorities will have to implement within a clear time frame and/or to hold a vote to establish that the EU core values of respect for democracy, the rule of law and human rights have been seriously breached in Poland. Poland has been under scrutiny by the Council since December 2017, when the European Commission triggered the procedure laid down in Article 7.1 TEU on account of the "clear risk of a serious breach" of the values referred to in Article 2 TEU in the country. Despite the many actions undertaken by EU institutions since 2017, the Polish government has continued to systematically infringe upon EU standards and ignore warnings and decisions from the European Commission, the European Parliament, and the Court of Justice of the European Union. Immediate, effective, and concerted action by the Council is vital to halt attacks against Article 2 principles and reaffirm that rule of law and human rights violations have no place in the EU.

MEPs Poland support
news item

| 08 March 2022

Regression on Abortion Access Harms Women in Poland

26 January 2022 – One year after the ruling of Poland’s discredited Constitutional Tribunal banning access to abortion in almost all circumstances took effect, its devastating impact on the lives of women and all those in need of abortion care continues. The ruling has increased the extreme barriers women seeking access to abortion face and has had tragic consequences for many of them and their families. Since the ruling took effect on 27 January 2021, more than 1000 women have turned to the European Court of Human Rights in an effort to vindicate their rights, challenging Poland’s highly restrictive abortion law and seeking justice. These groundbreaking cases mark the first direct challenges to be filed before the European Court against Poland’s abortion law and the 2020 Constitutional Tribunal ruling. The applicants claim that the Polish abortion law causes them grave harm and violates their rights to privacy and freedom from torture and other ill-treatment. The Court is expected to begin ruling on some of these cases: K.B. v. Poland and 3 other applications; K.C. v. Poland and 3 other applications; and A.L.- B. v. Poland and 3 other applications. Nine leading international human rights organizations have filed third-party interventions to the European Court of Human Rights in these cases, including Amnesty International, the Center for Reproductive Rights, Human Rights Watch, the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), the International Planned Parenthood Federation European Network (IPPF EN), Women Enabled International, Women’s Link Worldwide, and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT). The interventions provide evidence and analysis drawing on international human rights law, comparative European law and guidelines from the World Health Organization. They outline the profound implications that highly restrictive abortion laws have on the lives and health of women and girls of reproductive age.   Restrictive abortion laws such as Poland’s are contrary to international and European human rights standards and public health guidelines. They compromise women’s freedom, dignity, health, and lives. Our organizations’ interventions seek to highlight critical human rights aspects of such restrictive laws, and we are proud to support efforts to hold Poland accountable for these ongoing human rights violations, the organizations said.      Background Poland has one of Europe’s most restrictive abortion laws. Together with Malta, it is one of only two European Union Member States that has not legalized abortion on request or broad social grounds. In Poland, abortion is only permitted in situations of risk to the life or health of a pregnant woman, or if a pregnancy results from rape. In practice, however, it is almost impossible for those eligible for a legal abortion to obtain one. Every year thousands of women leave Poland to access abortion care in other European countries, while others import medical abortion pills or seek extra-legal abortion in Poland. Polish women, particularly those in difficult socio-economic situations, have to depend on the crucial help from civil society organizations, with often limited resources. On 22 October 2020, Poland’s discredited Constitutional Tribunal ruled that abortion on grounds of “severe and irreversible fetal defect or incurable illness that threatens the fetus’ life” was unconstitutional. The ruling followed a case filed by members of the Polish Parliament and formally supported by the Prosecutor General. The ruling came into force on 27 January 2021. Both the European Court of Human Rights and the European Commission have found that the Constitutional Tribunal does not meet fair trial requirements due to its lack of independence from the legislative and the executive powers. The ruling eliminated one of the only remaining legal grounds for abortion under Poland’s highly restrictive law and its entry into force means that there is now effectively a near-total ban on abortion in Poland. Previously, over 90 percent of the approximately 1,000 legal abortions annually performed in Poland were on this ground. The ruling came as the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions made travel for abortion care prohibitively difficult and costly. It  spurred the country’s largest public protests in decades, led by women human rights defenders. Activists and women’s rights organizations report that the ruling is having a significant chilling effect as medical professionals fear repercussions even in situations where abortion remains legal. Women human rights defenders and civil society organizations advocating for the ruling to be overturned and for reform of Poland’s abortion law have faced threats of violence and several protestors have been prosecuted.   Read the third-party submissions here. For more information about the cases filed by 12 Polish women see: K.B. v. Poland and 3 other applications K.C. v. Poland and 3 other applications A.L.- B. v. Poland and 3 other applications   For more information on the developments following the Tribunal’s ruling see e.g.: https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_21_7070   For more information, please contact: For the International Planned Parenthood Federation European Network, Irene Donadio: [email protected], +32 491 71 93 90, Twitter: @ippfen

MEPs Poland support
news_item

| 26 January 2022

Regression on Abortion Access Harms Women in Poland

26 January 2022 – One year after the ruling of Poland’s discredited Constitutional Tribunal banning access to abortion in almost all circumstances took effect, its devastating impact on the lives of women and all those in need of abortion care continues. The ruling has increased the extreme barriers women seeking access to abortion face and has had tragic consequences for many of them and their families. Since the ruling took effect on 27 January 2021, more than 1000 women have turned to the European Court of Human Rights in an effort to vindicate their rights, challenging Poland’s highly restrictive abortion law and seeking justice. These groundbreaking cases mark the first direct challenges to be filed before the European Court against Poland’s abortion law and the 2020 Constitutional Tribunal ruling. The applicants claim that the Polish abortion law causes them grave harm and violates their rights to privacy and freedom from torture and other ill-treatment. The Court is expected to begin ruling on some of these cases: K.B. v. Poland and 3 other applications; K.C. v. Poland and 3 other applications; and A.L.- B. v. Poland and 3 other applications. Nine leading international human rights organizations have filed third-party interventions to the European Court of Human Rights in these cases, including Amnesty International, the Center for Reproductive Rights, Human Rights Watch, the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), the International Planned Parenthood Federation European Network (IPPF EN), Women Enabled International, Women’s Link Worldwide, and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT). The interventions provide evidence and analysis drawing on international human rights law, comparative European law and guidelines from the World Health Organization. They outline the profound implications that highly restrictive abortion laws have on the lives and health of women and girls of reproductive age.   Restrictive abortion laws such as Poland’s are contrary to international and European human rights standards and public health guidelines. They compromise women’s freedom, dignity, health, and lives. Our organizations’ interventions seek to highlight critical human rights aspects of such restrictive laws, and we are proud to support efforts to hold Poland accountable for these ongoing human rights violations, the organizations said.      Background Poland has one of Europe’s most restrictive abortion laws. Together with Malta, it is one of only two European Union Member States that has not legalized abortion on request or broad social grounds. In Poland, abortion is only permitted in situations of risk to the life or health of a pregnant woman, or if a pregnancy results from rape. In practice, however, it is almost impossible for those eligible for a legal abortion to obtain one. Every year thousands of women leave Poland to access abortion care in other European countries, while others import medical abortion pills or seek extra-legal abortion in Poland. Polish women, particularly those in difficult socio-economic situations, have to depend on the crucial help from civil society organizations, with often limited resources. On 22 October 2020, Poland’s discredited Constitutional Tribunal ruled that abortion on grounds of “severe and irreversible fetal defect or incurable illness that threatens the fetus’ life” was unconstitutional. The ruling followed a case filed by members of the Polish Parliament and formally supported by the Prosecutor General. The ruling came into force on 27 January 2021. Both the European Court of Human Rights and the European Commission have found that the Constitutional Tribunal does not meet fair trial requirements due to its lack of independence from the legislative and the executive powers. The ruling eliminated one of the only remaining legal grounds for abortion under Poland’s highly restrictive law and its entry into force means that there is now effectively a near-total ban on abortion in Poland. Previously, over 90 percent of the approximately 1,000 legal abortions annually performed in Poland were on this ground. The ruling came as the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions made travel for abortion care prohibitively difficult and costly. It  spurred the country’s largest public protests in decades, led by women human rights defenders. Activists and women’s rights organizations report that the ruling is having a significant chilling effect as medical professionals fear repercussions even in situations where abortion remains legal. Women human rights defenders and civil society organizations advocating for the ruling to be overturned and for reform of Poland’s abortion law have faced threats of violence and several protestors have been prosecuted.   Read the third-party submissions here. For more information about the cases filed by 12 Polish women see: K.B. v. Poland and 3 other applications K.C. v. Poland and 3 other applications A.L.- B. v. Poland and 3 other applications   For more information on the developments following the Tribunal’s ruling see e.g.: https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_21_7070   For more information, please contact: For the International Planned Parenthood Federation European Network, Irene Donadio: [email protected], +32 491 71 93 90, Twitter: @ippfen

IPPF EN brochure
news item

| 12 January 2022

IPPF EN cares - 2020 impact

IPPF EN cares for people in all their diversity across Europe and recognises their right to lead safe and dignified reproductive lives, free from harm and discrimination.  This page summarizes progress made by IPPF to achieve our Strategic Framework 2016-2022 so that everyone can realize their sexual and reproductive health and rights. The COVID‑19 pandemic caused significant disruption to frontline services and advocacy efforts. But IPPF Member Associations (MAs) have shown extraordinary resilience, advocating with their governments for the inclusion of sexual and reproductive health as essential healthcare. Several played a critical role in influencing policy changes to sustain access to services. These included approval of telemedicine, online consultations, home use of medical abortion, and the provision of online relationship and sexuality education (RSE). MAs also adapted their service delivery models.

IPPF EN brochure
news_item

| 12 January 2022

IPPF EN cares - 2020 impact

IPPF EN cares for people in all their diversity across Europe and recognises their right to lead safe and dignified reproductive lives, free from harm and discrimination.  This page summarizes progress made by IPPF to achieve our Strategic Framework 2016-2022 so that everyone can realize their sexual and reproductive health and rights. The COVID‑19 pandemic caused significant disruption to frontline services and advocacy efforts. But IPPF Member Associations (MAs) have shown extraordinary resilience, advocating with their governments for the inclusion of sexual and reproductive health as essential healthcare. Several played a critical role in influencing policy changes to sustain access to services. These included approval of telemedicine, online consultations, home use of medical abortion, and the provision of online relationship and sexuality education (RSE). MAs also adapted their service delivery models.

Poland
news item

| 06 January 2022

Polish Parliament votes on anti-rights bills

Reaction to vote to establish the Polish Institute of Family and Demography IPPF EN is appalled to learn that the lower chamber of the Polish parliament has today given the green light to establish the Polish Institute of Family and Demography. This seemingly innocuous initiative is anything but. It would allow for increased and unnecessary data processing on people’s reproductive health and expanded interference by the state in people’s family lives.  Prosecutorial powers would be granted to the Institute’s President, allowing them to interfere in or initiate court and administrative proceedings that fall under the scope of family or children’s rights, such as parental or adoption rights. Polish activists fear this could be used against LGBTQI families by allowing the President to apply for the removal of parental rights from LGBT parents, for example. One look at the track-record of the current presidential-hopeful indicates this fear may be founded: it is Bartłomiej Wróblewski, a PiS MP who submitted the motion to Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal that led to the virtual ban on abortion.  The Institute would also be invested with expanded data-processing powers. It would be allowed to “process any information, including personal data, necessary for the performance of its statutory tasks,” although particular attention would be paid to data on marriage and fertility. Again, activists fear that this is an attempt to introduce a system of surveillance on people’s private lives, particularly as it coincides with a recent initiative by the Health Ministry to establish a pregnancy registry, which expands data-gathering on pregnant people. If deemed ‘necessary’ by the Institute, it could process data on pregnancies, contraceptive access, emergency contraception and pregnancy loss. Activists point to how the latter has been used with devastating effect against women in countries with draconian abortion laws, where women who have suffered miscarriage are accused of accessing abortion, and prosecuted. 

Poland
news_item

| 02 December 2021

Polish Parliament votes on anti-rights bills

Reaction to vote to establish the Polish Institute of Family and Demography IPPF EN is appalled to learn that the lower chamber of the Polish parliament has today given the green light to establish the Polish Institute of Family and Demography. This seemingly innocuous initiative is anything but. It would allow for increased and unnecessary data processing on people’s reproductive health and expanded interference by the state in people’s family lives.  Prosecutorial powers would be granted to the Institute’s President, allowing them to interfere in or initiate court and administrative proceedings that fall under the scope of family or children’s rights, such as parental or adoption rights. Polish activists fear this could be used against LGBTQI families by allowing the President to apply for the removal of parental rights from LGBT parents, for example. One look at the track-record of the current presidential-hopeful indicates this fear may be founded: it is Bartłomiej Wróblewski, a PiS MP who submitted the motion to Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal that led to the virtual ban on abortion.  The Institute would also be invested with expanded data-processing powers. It would be allowed to “process any information, including personal data, necessary for the performance of its statutory tasks,” although particular attention would be paid to data on marriage and fertility. Again, activists fear that this is an attempt to introduce a system of surveillance on people’s private lives, particularly as it coincides with a recent initiative by the Health Ministry to establish a pregnancy registry, which expands data-gathering on pregnant people. If deemed ‘necessary’ by the Institute, it could process data on pregnancies, contraceptive access, emergency contraception and pregnancy loss. Activists point to how the latter has been used with devastating effect against women in countries with draconian abortion laws, where women who have suffered miscarriage are accused of accessing abortion, and prosecuted. 

Africa EU
news item

| 25 February 2022

EU-AU Summit leaves many questions unanswered and crucial topics unaddressed

Joint Civil Society Reaction The African Union - European Union Summit that took place on 17 and 18 February 2022 aimed to deepen cooperation between the EU and the AU “based on shared interests and values” and resulted in a joint-political declaration. It was an opportunity for European leaders to work towards ending not only the COVID-19 pandemic, but also persisting epidemics like HIV, tuberculosis, malaria, and other diseases, by supporting sustainable mechanisms for building health systems worldwide. While we welcome the fact that health was high on the political agenda of the Summit, and Team Europe made wide-ranging commitments in the area of health, it remains unclear how some of these initiatives will be funded, what type of support will be provided (grants, loans, or blended finance), how these initiatives will connect to each other to create a coherent continental approach, or how sustainable they will be in the long run. The call from the AU and civil society to support the waiving of Intellectual Property rights on COVID tools was also not addressed, despite its urgency. We deeply regret the absence of a commitment to the achievement of universal access to Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) in the political declaration, despite the calls made by civil society and youth ahead of the Summit about the importance of prioritising SRHR. SRHR are critical to achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC), as well as gender equality and human development. While we welcome the development of a Team Europe Initiative on SRHR in Sub-Saharan Africa, we call on the EU and the AU to implement ambitious policies and allocate adequate funding to the achievement of SRHR for all. Download our full joint statement below.

Africa EU
news_item

| 24 February 2022

EU-AU Summit leaves many questions unanswered and crucial topics unaddressed

Joint Civil Society Reaction The African Union - European Union Summit that took place on 17 and 18 February 2022 aimed to deepen cooperation between the EU and the AU “based on shared interests and values” and resulted in a joint-political declaration. It was an opportunity for European leaders to work towards ending not only the COVID-19 pandemic, but also persisting epidemics like HIV, tuberculosis, malaria, and other diseases, by supporting sustainable mechanisms for building health systems worldwide. While we welcome the fact that health was high on the political agenda of the Summit, and Team Europe made wide-ranging commitments in the area of health, it remains unclear how some of these initiatives will be funded, what type of support will be provided (grants, loans, or blended finance), how these initiatives will connect to each other to create a coherent continental approach, or how sustainable they will be in the long run. The call from the AU and civil society to support the waiving of Intellectual Property rights on COVID tools was also not addressed, despite its urgency. We deeply regret the absence of a commitment to the achievement of universal access to Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) in the political declaration, despite the calls made by civil society and youth ahead of the Summit about the importance of prioritising SRHR. SRHR are critical to achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC), as well as gender equality and human development. While we welcome the development of a Team Europe Initiative on SRHR in Sub-Saharan Africa, we call on the EU and the AU to implement ambitious policies and allocate adequate funding to the achievement of SRHR for all. Download our full joint statement below.

GBV
news item

| 17 February 2022

Stop all forms of gender-based violence: A manifesto for an inclusive and comprehensive EU gender-based violence policy for all

Together we call on the European Union to adopt a forward-thinking and truly inclusive approach to gender-based violence - that leaves no one behind and strives to achieve real change in the lives of all people, without discrimination. To meaningfully address gender-based violence in the European Union, we must promote inclusion, safety, protection, well-being and effective remedies for those most at risk. In the lead up to International Women’s Day, 8 March, and the expected publication of a draft EU law to address violence against women and domestic violence, the under-signed organisations have adopted this manifesto for a truly inclusive EU law and policy. We welcome the leadership of the European Commission in taking action, and the engagement of the European Parliament, and urge everyone who will be involved in this effort to take an inclusive and intersectional feminist approach. All civil society organisations and Members of European Parliament are invited to join us – sign up to the manifesto here.

GBV
news_item

| 17 February 2022

Stop all forms of gender-based violence: A manifesto for an inclusive and comprehensive EU gender-based violence policy for all

Together we call on the European Union to adopt a forward-thinking and truly inclusive approach to gender-based violence - that leaves no one behind and strives to achieve real change in the lives of all people, without discrimination. To meaningfully address gender-based violence in the European Union, we must promote inclusion, safety, protection, well-being and effective remedies for those most at risk. In the lead up to International Women’s Day, 8 March, and the expected publication of a draft EU law to address violence against women and domestic violence, the under-signed organisations have adopted this manifesto for a truly inclusive EU law and policy. We welcome the leadership of the European Commission in taking action, and the engagement of the European Parliament, and urge everyone who will be involved in this effort to take an inclusive and intersectional feminist approach. All civil society organisations and Members of European Parliament are invited to join us – sign up to the manifesto here.

IWD Poland
news item

| 17 February 2022

Civil society asks Council of the EU to act on rule of law collapse in Poland

As the EU Council prepares to discuss the rule of law situation in Poland at its upcoming meeting on 22 February 2022, FIDH and other civil society organisations from Poland and across the EU draw EU ministers’ attention to recent, alarming developments, pointing to a severe and steady decline in the respect for EU values in the country. These include attempts to undermine judicial independence, refusal to comply with European court’s decisions, attacks on media freedom, and restrictions on civic space. Rule of law deficits are having negative impacts on human rights, particularly on the sexual and reproductive rights of women and on LGBTI people’s rights. In the letter, the signatory organisations urge EU governments to address these developments at next week’s meeting, to adopt recommendations that Polish authorities will have to implement within a clear time frame and/or to hold a vote to establish that the EU core values of respect for democracy, the rule of law and human rights have been seriously breached in Poland. Poland has been under scrutiny by the Council since December 2017, when the European Commission triggered the procedure laid down in Article 7.1 TEU on account of the "clear risk of a serious breach" of the values referred to in Article 2 TEU in the country. Despite the many actions undertaken by EU institutions since 2017, the Polish government has continued to systematically infringe upon EU standards and ignore warnings and decisions from the European Commission, the European Parliament, and the Court of Justice of the European Union. Immediate, effective, and concerted action by the Council is vital to halt attacks against Article 2 principles and reaffirm that rule of law and human rights violations have no place in the EU.

IWD Poland
news_item

| 15 February 2022

Civil society asks Council of the EU to act on rule of law collapse in Poland

As the EU Council prepares to discuss the rule of law situation in Poland at its upcoming meeting on 22 February 2022, FIDH and other civil society organisations from Poland and across the EU draw EU ministers’ attention to recent, alarming developments, pointing to a severe and steady decline in the respect for EU values in the country. These include attempts to undermine judicial independence, refusal to comply with European court’s decisions, attacks on media freedom, and restrictions on civic space. Rule of law deficits are having negative impacts on human rights, particularly on the sexual and reproductive rights of women and on LGBTI people’s rights. In the letter, the signatory organisations urge EU governments to address these developments at next week’s meeting, to adopt recommendations that Polish authorities will have to implement within a clear time frame and/or to hold a vote to establish that the EU core values of respect for democracy, the rule of law and human rights have been seriously breached in Poland. Poland has been under scrutiny by the Council since December 2017, when the European Commission triggered the procedure laid down in Article 7.1 TEU on account of the "clear risk of a serious breach" of the values referred to in Article 2 TEU in the country. Despite the many actions undertaken by EU institutions since 2017, the Polish government has continued to systematically infringe upon EU standards and ignore warnings and decisions from the European Commission, the European Parliament, and the Court of Justice of the European Union. Immediate, effective, and concerted action by the Council is vital to halt attacks against Article 2 principles and reaffirm that rule of law and human rights violations have no place in the EU.

MEPs Poland support
news item

| 08 March 2022

Regression on Abortion Access Harms Women in Poland

26 January 2022 – One year after the ruling of Poland’s discredited Constitutional Tribunal banning access to abortion in almost all circumstances took effect, its devastating impact on the lives of women and all those in need of abortion care continues. The ruling has increased the extreme barriers women seeking access to abortion face and has had tragic consequences for many of them and their families. Since the ruling took effect on 27 January 2021, more than 1000 women have turned to the European Court of Human Rights in an effort to vindicate their rights, challenging Poland’s highly restrictive abortion law and seeking justice. These groundbreaking cases mark the first direct challenges to be filed before the European Court against Poland’s abortion law and the 2020 Constitutional Tribunal ruling. The applicants claim that the Polish abortion law causes them grave harm and violates their rights to privacy and freedom from torture and other ill-treatment. The Court is expected to begin ruling on some of these cases: K.B. v. Poland and 3 other applications; K.C. v. Poland and 3 other applications; and A.L.- B. v. Poland and 3 other applications. Nine leading international human rights organizations have filed third-party interventions to the European Court of Human Rights in these cases, including Amnesty International, the Center for Reproductive Rights, Human Rights Watch, the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), the International Planned Parenthood Federation European Network (IPPF EN), Women Enabled International, Women’s Link Worldwide, and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT). The interventions provide evidence and analysis drawing on international human rights law, comparative European law and guidelines from the World Health Organization. They outline the profound implications that highly restrictive abortion laws have on the lives and health of women and girls of reproductive age.   Restrictive abortion laws such as Poland’s are contrary to international and European human rights standards and public health guidelines. They compromise women’s freedom, dignity, health, and lives. Our organizations’ interventions seek to highlight critical human rights aspects of such restrictive laws, and we are proud to support efforts to hold Poland accountable for these ongoing human rights violations, the organizations said.      Background Poland has one of Europe’s most restrictive abortion laws. Together with Malta, it is one of only two European Union Member States that has not legalized abortion on request or broad social grounds. In Poland, abortion is only permitted in situations of risk to the life or health of a pregnant woman, or if a pregnancy results from rape. In practice, however, it is almost impossible for those eligible for a legal abortion to obtain one. Every year thousands of women leave Poland to access abortion care in other European countries, while others import medical abortion pills or seek extra-legal abortion in Poland. Polish women, particularly those in difficult socio-economic situations, have to depend on the crucial help from civil society organizations, with often limited resources. On 22 October 2020, Poland’s discredited Constitutional Tribunal ruled that abortion on grounds of “severe and irreversible fetal defect or incurable illness that threatens the fetus’ life” was unconstitutional. The ruling followed a case filed by members of the Polish Parliament and formally supported by the Prosecutor General. The ruling came into force on 27 January 2021. Both the European Court of Human Rights and the European Commission have found that the Constitutional Tribunal does not meet fair trial requirements due to its lack of independence from the legislative and the executive powers. The ruling eliminated one of the only remaining legal grounds for abortion under Poland’s highly restrictive law and its entry into force means that there is now effectively a near-total ban on abortion in Poland. Previously, over 90 percent of the approximately 1,000 legal abortions annually performed in Poland were on this ground. The ruling came as the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions made travel for abortion care prohibitively difficult and costly. It  spurred the country’s largest public protests in decades, led by women human rights defenders. Activists and women’s rights organizations report that the ruling is having a significant chilling effect as medical professionals fear repercussions even in situations where abortion remains legal. Women human rights defenders and civil society organizations advocating for the ruling to be overturned and for reform of Poland’s abortion law have faced threats of violence and several protestors have been prosecuted.   Read the third-party submissions here. For more information about the cases filed by 12 Polish women see: K.B. v. Poland and 3 other applications K.C. v. Poland and 3 other applications A.L.- B. v. Poland and 3 other applications   For more information on the developments following the Tribunal’s ruling see e.g.: https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_21_7070   For more information, please contact: For the International Planned Parenthood Federation European Network, Irene Donadio: [email protected], +32 491 71 93 90, Twitter: @ippfen

MEPs Poland support
news_item

| 26 January 2022

Regression on Abortion Access Harms Women in Poland

26 January 2022 – One year after the ruling of Poland’s discredited Constitutional Tribunal banning access to abortion in almost all circumstances took effect, its devastating impact on the lives of women and all those in need of abortion care continues. The ruling has increased the extreme barriers women seeking access to abortion face and has had tragic consequences for many of them and their families. Since the ruling took effect on 27 January 2021, more than 1000 women have turned to the European Court of Human Rights in an effort to vindicate their rights, challenging Poland’s highly restrictive abortion law and seeking justice. These groundbreaking cases mark the first direct challenges to be filed before the European Court against Poland’s abortion law and the 2020 Constitutional Tribunal ruling. The applicants claim that the Polish abortion law causes them grave harm and violates their rights to privacy and freedom from torture and other ill-treatment. The Court is expected to begin ruling on some of these cases: K.B. v. Poland and 3 other applications; K.C. v. Poland and 3 other applications; and A.L.- B. v. Poland and 3 other applications. Nine leading international human rights organizations have filed third-party interventions to the European Court of Human Rights in these cases, including Amnesty International, the Center for Reproductive Rights, Human Rights Watch, the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), the International Planned Parenthood Federation European Network (IPPF EN), Women Enabled International, Women’s Link Worldwide, and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT). The interventions provide evidence and analysis drawing on international human rights law, comparative European law and guidelines from the World Health Organization. They outline the profound implications that highly restrictive abortion laws have on the lives and health of women and girls of reproductive age.   Restrictive abortion laws such as Poland’s are contrary to international and European human rights standards and public health guidelines. They compromise women’s freedom, dignity, health, and lives. Our organizations’ interventions seek to highlight critical human rights aspects of such restrictive laws, and we are proud to support efforts to hold Poland accountable for these ongoing human rights violations, the organizations said.      Background Poland has one of Europe’s most restrictive abortion laws. Together with Malta, it is one of only two European Union Member States that has not legalized abortion on request or broad social grounds. In Poland, abortion is only permitted in situations of risk to the life or health of a pregnant woman, or if a pregnancy results from rape. In practice, however, it is almost impossible for those eligible for a legal abortion to obtain one. Every year thousands of women leave Poland to access abortion care in other European countries, while others import medical abortion pills or seek extra-legal abortion in Poland. Polish women, particularly those in difficult socio-economic situations, have to depend on the crucial help from civil society organizations, with often limited resources. On 22 October 2020, Poland’s discredited Constitutional Tribunal ruled that abortion on grounds of “severe and irreversible fetal defect or incurable illness that threatens the fetus’ life” was unconstitutional. The ruling followed a case filed by members of the Polish Parliament and formally supported by the Prosecutor General. The ruling came into force on 27 January 2021. Both the European Court of Human Rights and the European Commission have found that the Constitutional Tribunal does not meet fair trial requirements due to its lack of independence from the legislative and the executive powers. The ruling eliminated one of the only remaining legal grounds for abortion under Poland’s highly restrictive law and its entry into force means that there is now effectively a near-total ban on abortion in Poland. Previously, over 90 percent of the approximately 1,000 legal abortions annually performed in Poland were on this ground. The ruling came as the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions made travel for abortion care prohibitively difficult and costly. It  spurred the country’s largest public protests in decades, led by women human rights defenders. Activists and women’s rights organizations report that the ruling is having a significant chilling effect as medical professionals fear repercussions even in situations where abortion remains legal. Women human rights defenders and civil society organizations advocating for the ruling to be overturned and for reform of Poland’s abortion law have faced threats of violence and several protestors have been prosecuted.   Read the third-party submissions here. For more information about the cases filed by 12 Polish women see: K.B. v. Poland and 3 other applications K.C. v. Poland and 3 other applications A.L.- B. v. Poland and 3 other applications   For more information on the developments following the Tribunal’s ruling see e.g.: https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_21_7070   For more information, please contact: For the International Planned Parenthood Federation European Network, Irene Donadio: [email protected], +32 491 71 93 90, Twitter: @ippfen

IPPF EN brochure
news item

| 12 January 2022

IPPF EN cares - 2020 impact

IPPF EN cares for people in all their diversity across Europe and recognises their right to lead safe and dignified reproductive lives, free from harm and discrimination.  This page summarizes progress made by IPPF to achieve our Strategic Framework 2016-2022 so that everyone can realize their sexual and reproductive health and rights. The COVID‑19 pandemic caused significant disruption to frontline services and advocacy efforts. But IPPF Member Associations (MAs) have shown extraordinary resilience, advocating with their governments for the inclusion of sexual and reproductive health as essential healthcare. Several played a critical role in influencing policy changes to sustain access to services. These included approval of telemedicine, online consultations, home use of medical abortion, and the provision of online relationship and sexuality education (RSE). MAs also adapted their service delivery models.

IPPF EN brochure
news_item

| 12 January 2022

IPPF EN cares - 2020 impact

IPPF EN cares for people in all their diversity across Europe and recognises their right to lead safe and dignified reproductive lives, free from harm and discrimination.  This page summarizes progress made by IPPF to achieve our Strategic Framework 2016-2022 so that everyone can realize their sexual and reproductive health and rights. The COVID‑19 pandemic caused significant disruption to frontline services and advocacy efforts. But IPPF Member Associations (MAs) have shown extraordinary resilience, advocating with their governments for the inclusion of sexual and reproductive health as essential healthcare. Several played a critical role in influencing policy changes to sustain access to services. These included approval of telemedicine, online consultations, home use of medical abortion, and the provision of online relationship and sexuality education (RSE). MAs also adapted their service delivery models.

Poland
news item

| 06 January 2022

Polish Parliament votes on anti-rights bills

Reaction to vote to establish the Polish Institute of Family and Demography IPPF EN is appalled to learn that the lower chamber of the Polish parliament has today given the green light to establish the Polish Institute of Family and Demography. This seemingly innocuous initiative is anything but. It would allow for increased and unnecessary data processing on people’s reproductive health and expanded interference by the state in people’s family lives.  Prosecutorial powers would be granted to the Institute’s President, allowing them to interfere in or initiate court and administrative proceedings that fall under the scope of family or children’s rights, such as parental or adoption rights. Polish activists fear this could be used against LGBTQI families by allowing the President to apply for the removal of parental rights from LGBT parents, for example. One look at the track-record of the current presidential-hopeful indicates this fear may be founded: it is Bartłomiej Wróblewski, a PiS MP who submitted the motion to Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal that led to the virtual ban on abortion.  The Institute would also be invested with expanded data-processing powers. It would be allowed to “process any information, including personal data, necessary for the performance of its statutory tasks,” although particular attention would be paid to data on marriage and fertility. Again, activists fear that this is an attempt to introduce a system of surveillance on people’s private lives, particularly as it coincides with a recent initiative by the Health Ministry to establish a pregnancy registry, which expands data-gathering on pregnant people. If deemed ‘necessary’ by the Institute, it could process data on pregnancies, contraceptive access, emergency contraception and pregnancy loss. Activists point to how the latter has been used with devastating effect against women in countries with draconian abortion laws, where women who have suffered miscarriage are accused of accessing abortion, and prosecuted. 

Poland
news_item

| 02 December 2021

Polish Parliament votes on anti-rights bills

Reaction to vote to establish the Polish Institute of Family and Demography IPPF EN is appalled to learn that the lower chamber of the Polish parliament has today given the green light to establish the Polish Institute of Family and Demography. This seemingly innocuous initiative is anything but. It would allow for increased and unnecessary data processing on people’s reproductive health and expanded interference by the state in people’s family lives.  Prosecutorial powers would be granted to the Institute’s President, allowing them to interfere in or initiate court and administrative proceedings that fall under the scope of family or children’s rights, such as parental or adoption rights. Polish activists fear this could be used against LGBTQI families by allowing the President to apply for the removal of parental rights from LGBT parents, for example. One look at the track-record of the current presidential-hopeful indicates this fear may be founded: it is Bartłomiej Wróblewski, a PiS MP who submitted the motion to Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal that led to the virtual ban on abortion.  The Institute would also be invested with expanded data-processing powers. It would be allowed to “process any information, including personal data, necessary for the performance of its statutory tasks,” although particular attention would be paid to data on marriage and fertility. Again, activists fear that this is an attempt to introduce a system of surveillance on people’s private lives, particularly as it coincides with a recent initiative by the Health Ministry to establish a pregnancy registry, which expands data-gathering on pregnant people. If deemed ‘necessary’ by the Institute, it could process data on pregnancies, contraceptive access, emergency contraception and pregnancy loss. Activists point to how the latter has been used with devastating effect against women in countries with draconian abortion laws, where women who have suffered miscarriage are accused of accessing abortion, and prosecuted.