The Polish government is pulling out of a European treaty said to focus on violence against women. Warsaw says it contains a provision for schools to teach children about gender theory, which calls biological sexes “archaic.”
The Ministry of Family, Labor and Social Policy has been directed to take the steps necessary to withdraw from the Council of Europe’s so-called Istanbul Convention, Poland’s Ministry of Justice said on Monday. Poland ratified the treaty, which was signed in haste in 2012, back in 2015, but countries such as neighboring Hungary, Lithuania and the Czech Republic have yet to do so.
“It contains elements of an ideological nature, which we consider harmful,” Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro said, explaining the move.
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In particular, Warsaw takes issue with “the false assumption that biological sex is archaic, and in fact everything comes down to the socio-cultural gender,” Ziobro said.
Forcing nations to promote the theory to children not only violates parental rights, he added, but “we believe this to be false, and we completely reject it.”
The Council of Europe reacted to the move by calling it “highly regrettable.” Secretary General Marija Pejcinovic Buric said the Istanbul Convention was an “international treaty to combat violence against women and domestic violence, and that is its sole objective,” adding that Poland’s departure would be “a major step backwards” for their efforts. She added they were ready to clarify “any misconceptions or misunderstandings about the convention.”
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