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Change rape definition, cease limiting media, Europe tells Poland

Demonstrators attend a protest in opposition to a call limiting abortion rights in Warsaw, Poland, January 29, 2021. REUTERS/Aleksandra Szmigiel/File Photograph

BRUSSELS, Sept 16 (Reuters) – Poland should change its authorized definition of rape to guard girls and cease limiting media, European establishments mentioned on Thursday, within the newest challenges to the ruling nationalists over rights and democracy.

Below the eurosceptic, socially conservative Regulation and Justice (PiS) occasion, Poland has fought with the European Union on points starting from remedy of migrants to independence of judges.

Regardless of protests, PiS has tightened already restrictive anti-abortion legal guidelines, introducing a de facto ban on terminating pregnancies. learn extra

The Council of Europe (CoE) – the continent’s prime rights watchdog – mentioned Warsaw ought to improve efforts to fight sexual violence and alter its definition of rape from a force-based act to 1 protecting all non-consensual intercourse.

The Council is reviewing how European nations implement the 2014 Istanbul Conference on combating violence in opposition to girls. Of 17 states analysed thus far, solely Belgium, Malta and Sweden penalise sexual violence on grounds of lack of consent alone.

“With no consent-based definition of rape in felony regulation, prosecutors will invariably determine in opposition to searching for an indictment in instances the place the sexual act is undisputed, however consent shouldn’t be,” the CoE mentioned in an announcement.

MEDIA FREEDOM

Individually, the EU parliament voted 502-149 in favour of endorsing a decision expressing concern over media freedoms in Poland and criticising a draft regulation focusing on a U.S. Discovery-owned TV information channel TVN, which is important of the federal government.

The non-binding decision additional laments the erosion of judicial independence, using litigation to silence critics, and makes an attempt to dam intercourse schooling lessons.

It criticises Poland for setbacks to girls’s sexual and reproductive well being and rights, in addition to discrimination of gays, saying the EU ought to withhold funds to Warsaw.

Nineteen of the bloc’s 27 international locations – however not Poland – already received European Fee approval for his or her nationwide spending plans, unlocking entry to tens of billions of euros from the bloc in COVID-19 restoration funds.

The Fee has additionally criticised Poland over lesbian, homosexual, bisexual or transgender rights following a call by some Polish communities to declare themselves “LGBT-free”. learn extra

The Ministry of Household and Social Coverage dismissed considerations of discrimination, saying on Wednesday that it didn’t legally restrict the proper of all folks to dwell or work there.

The Fee is more likely to choose this reasoning as defective and to inform Poland to make amends, or face a lawsuit on the prime EU courtroom, which could order redress in addition to fines.

Warsaw has mentioned it will plug the gaps in funding ought to the self-proclaimed “LGBT-free” zones lose EU cash.

Reporting by Gabriela Baczynska;
Modifying by Andrew Cawthorne and Lisa Shumaker

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