Poland is preparing to join other Central European countries like Hungary and Slovakia and withdraw from the controversial Istanbul Convention due to texts within the document that promote gender ideology and anti-Catholic sentiment, Polish Labor Minister Marlena Maląg told a gathering of Catholic activists.
Maląg’s announcement that Poland is moving forward with withdrawing from the convention comes at a time when Polish Catholic organizations are actively petitioning the Polish government to end its continued participation in the agreement, according to radiomaryja.pl.
Poland originally signed the Istanbul Convention for the prevention and combating of violence against women and domestic violence in 2015 which was ratified by the liberal administration led by the Civic Platform (PO). The Istanbul Convention was ratified under pressure from gender and LGBT activists.
According to the critics of the convention, it uses the laudable objectives of combating domestic violence and discrimination against women in order to force through gender ideology that is alien to Polish family values and tradition.
Minister Maląg, who is responsible for family policy in the government, says that “Poland has filed objections to the convention, and we have until the end of the year to clarify our intentions. We will be working with the ministry of foreign affairs and the justice ministry in order to prepare legislation”.
She stated that the legislation is highly likely to lead to Poland withdrawing from the convention.
The Polish government’s move follows Law and Justice’s Andrzej Duda’s presidential election victory earlier this month, giving conservatives in the country new momentum to push forward their legislative agenda over the coming years.
Duda promised during the campaign that he would “protect the Polish family with all my strength” and said that “they are trying to persuade us that LGBT is a category of people, but it’s an ideology”.
Call for creation the “International Convention for Family Rights”
Last Thursday, the Catholic Social Congress and the Ordo Iuris institute announced that they will be collecting signatures for a petition entitled “Yes for the family, no to gender”, which aims at removing Poland from the Istanbul Convention and to formulate and ratify the International Convention for Family Rights instead.
The International Convention for Family Rights is an attempt by Christians and conservatives in the region to present an alternative convention that would promote family values, protect women, and align with the region’s traditionalist and nationalist principles.
Former Speaker of the Polish Lower House of Parliament Marek Jurek said that the International Convention for Family Rights could “lead to cooperation between those EU member states which identify with family values”.
At the same time, other Catholic organizations in Poland are also pushing for an end to the Istanbul Convention.
According to Catholic legal think tank Ordo Iuris, the Istanbul Convention is an attempt to impose gender ideology, erode family values, and attack Christian principles. The convention condemns both the traditional model of the family as well as the Catholic faith by making out both to be responsible for domestic violence. All states which sign it commit themselves to propagate and promote its ideological basis.
The head of Ordo Iuris, Jerzy Kwaśniewski, argues that it is the family which best protects women.
“It is the family, untouched by ideological decomposition, which best protects all its members,” he said.
According to Magdalena Trojanowska from Poland’s Parents Protect Children association, the Istanbul Convention attempts to fight stereotypes by using “intellectual and social force”.
Poland’s conservatives have long sought an exit from the Istanbul Convention
The head of a local Gdańsk organization, Marek Skiba, stated that the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) back in 2015 had promised that Poland would withdraw from the Istanbul Convention. This was not done in the last five years.
The nationalist organization responsible for organizing the Independence Day marches also supports the petition. Its leader Robert Bąkiewicz appealed to Duda to reject the Istanbul Convention.
“A convention which is one on gender, a convention that changes our customs, a convention that is to lead to the collapse of our family and society,” he said.
Prominent conservatives have come out against the Istanbul Convention in the past as well, including Poland’s Deputy Justice Minister Marcin Romanowski, who slammed the convention as “genderist babble”.
“The Istanbul Convention lists religion as a cause for violence against women. We want to withdraw from this genderist babble which was ratified by the Civic Platform (PO) and Polish People’s Party (PSL). Foreign opinions do not interest us. Our foundation is a sovereign nation state,” he wrote on Twitter.
The minister added that “teaching young boys to walk in dresses is not a method of combating violence.”
Other nations like Hungary, an ally of Poland’s, have recently rejected the Istanbul Convention, with the Hungarian Parliament overwhelmingly rejecting the law in May of this year.
“We have a right to defend our country, our culture, our laws, traditions, and national values,” Hungarian KDNP caucus leader Lprinc Nacsa said following the parliament’s rejection of the convention.