On 8 March 2023 a meeting was held at the Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights. The Commissioner for Human Rights, Marcin Wiącek, met with the UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women and girls, Reem Alsalem, who was on an official visit to Poland. The meeting was also attended by Deputy Ombudsman Valeri Vachev, Director of the Equal Treatment Team of CHR, Magdalena Kuruś and Deputy Director of the Team for Presidential Affairs and International Cooperation, Maciej Kruk.
The conversation concerned the current state of legal protection against violence, experienced especially by women and girls. During the meeting, the Commissioner indicated the need to introduce comprehensive legal regulations necessary to improve the situation of women. In this regard, the Ombudsman drew attention to the need to undertake legislative work after the judgment of the Constitutional Tribunal of October 22, 2020 (case no. K 1/20) on abortion. The problems faced by women belonging to vulnerable groups were also discussed, in particular in the context of migrant women coming to Poland - war refugees from Ukraine and irregular migrants, Roma women, people with disabilities. Issues related to anti-discrimination education implemented in schools were also raised - the most important findings of the CHR report "Equal treatment at school" were quoted in this respect. In addition, the Ombudsman presented comments on the legal protection of various minority groups against bias-motivated crimes and discussed the current legal status of resolutions on the so-called LGBT-free zones.
Reem Alsalem was appointed Special Rapporteur on violence against women and girls, its causes and effects in July 2021. She is an independent consultant on gender issues, refugee and migrant rights, transitional justice and humanitarian response. During her visit to Poland, the UN expert assessed the efforts made to implement Poland's international and regional commitments, as well as the legal, institutional and political framework for preventing and responding to violence against women and girls. She focused on issues related to ending feminicide, domestic violence, human trafficking, sexual violence and exploitation, and access to sexual and reproductive rights. She also investigated the systemic causes of gender-based violence in Poland. She assessed the situation of adolescent girls, women and girls from ethnic minority groups, refugee and migrant women, women and girls of different sexual orientations and gender identities, as well as women active in the public sphere. The Special Rapporteur will present a report on her visit to Poland in June 2024.
Source: The Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Republic of Poland