Fundamental rights are under threat in Poland

Fundamental rights are under threat in Poland and across the EU, Istanbul Convention on preventing violence against women, Birgit Sippel, Péter Niedermüller, LGBTI individuals, anti-gypsyism, roma, migrants and asylum seekers,

During a debate at the European Parliament in Strasbourg S&D MEPs strongly condemned the deteriorating fundamental rights situation in Poland and the statement from a government minister that they were planning to withdraw from the Istanbul Convention on preventing violence against women.

S&D Group spokesperson for civil liberties, justice and home affairs, Birgit Sippel, said:

“The suggestion from a government minister that Poland may withdraw from the Istanbul Convention is just the latest in a string of decisions that threaten the fundamental rights of Polish citizens. It is incomprehensible that an EU state could fail to recognise the seriousness of this issue and can shirk its responsibility to tackle gender-based violence. We urge the Polish government to confirm that this will not happen.

“The government must also act to resolve the ongoing constitutional crisis in the country. The European Commission has issued a series of recommendations to the Polish government and these must now be followed in full. We are also concerned by new legislative proposals which could threaten the freedom of assembly and the independence of NGOs, as well as threats to the opposition.

“After Hungary, the unfolding constitutional crisis in Poland clearly shows the need for a permanent and objective mechanism for monitoring the rule of law in all member states. Already in October, the European Parliament has urged the European Commission to come forward with a concrete proposal on such a mechanism. The ball is now in the court of the Commission.”

The head of Polish delegation to the S&D Group, Bogusław Liberadzki added:

“The state of the rule of law, democracy and human rights are vital to all our democracies and all of our citizens. It is of equal importance in every country, regardless of which party is in government.

“I am a Polish MEP and I know that three quarters of Poles support the EU and the principles that govern it. They want to have a peaceful, open and united community. That faith and hope in the EU should not be doubted. We want to see a swift resolution to the ongoing constitutional crisis - so that Poland can rightly return to its vital place at the heart of the European Union.”