Human Rights Watch

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Poland: Women’s Rights Supporters Targeted

Attacks by Government Hamper Safety, Services

Wednesday 06 February 2019


The Polish government is attacking women’s rights activists and organizations, putting women’s rights and safety at risk, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. More than two years after the first Black Protests, when thousands took to the streets to protest efforts to further restrict access to abortion, the ruling Law and Justice (Prawo i Sprawiedliwość, PiS) party is targeting women’s rights activism through raids on groups’ offices, denial of funding, public smear campaigns, and disciplinary action. The report, “The Breath of the Government on My Back”: Attacks on Women’s Rights in Poland, documents how, since coming to power in 2015, the Law and Justice government has targeted women’s rights groups through raids and defunding, often with little warning and no clear rationale. Human Rights Watch found that government agencies have dragged government employees who support women’s rights protests or collaborate with women’s rights groups before disciplinary hearings and threatened their jobs. The government has failed to counter – and sometimes appeared to support – public smear campaigns by politicians and church-backed groups that mischaracterize women’s rights organizations and their work as dangerous to families and so-called “traditional values.” 

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