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Poland - Universal Periodic Review - Gender-Based Violence and Migrant Rights - March 2022

Date: March 31, 2022
Country: Poland
Type: Intl Mechanism Submission
Issues: Asylum, Gender-Based Violence, Migrant Rights, Women's Rights
Mechanism: Universal Periodic Review
Report Type: Stakeholder Report
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Poland fails to adequately uphold obligations to protect people in need of international protection through its laws and policies. Article 3 of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhumane Treatment or Punishment ("The Convention"), obliges State Parties to refrain from expelling, refouling or extraditing a person when there is substantial belief the individual would be in danger of torture. Poland's current legislation allows for any migrants crossing the border unofficially to be removed. Further, the government has exacerbated human rights violations in neighboring Belarus by barring Belarusians and other foreign nationals in need of international protection from entering Poland and failing to provide asylum to victims of torture who are seeking protection in the European Union.

Domestic violence remains prevalent in Poland. Despite advances in legislation for expanded protections, the law still does not cover incidents of violence involving unmarried intimate partners or former and/or non-cohabiting intimate partners. Psychological violence is rarely charged without a corresponding charge of physical violence. System actors treat charges of threats of violence or coercion as separate incidents, instead of patterns of behavior. Due to the gaps in legislation, many victims are left unprotected and without remedies.

Women face significant barriers to safe abortion access. A recent Constitutional Court ruling effectively eliminated one of three grounds for legal abortion, leaving many women either to seek unsafe abortion or go outside the country. One woman died as a result of delayed abortion care since the ruling. These restrictions leave women at risk of mental and physical harm amounting to torture or cruel and inhumane treatment.