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(London) – Polish Human Rights Watch said the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party has published proposed legislation that, if passed, would undermine children’s rights to education, health and information.

On May 4, 2023, PiS announced its draft amendment to the Education Law Act titled “Protecting Children, Supporting Parents”, which would restrict access to schools for NGOs providing sex education. Such groups are often the only reliable source of this content due to restrictive and discriminatory national curriculum, PiS leader Jarosław Kaczyński said the proposed law aimed to curb the “sexualisation of children” and “all kinds of weird ideas”. This is the latest attempt by the government to eliminate comprehensive sex education.

“Sex education conducted by specialist NGOs is vital in a country where children rarely learn about their own bodies, consensual relationships and reproductive health as a result of official curriculum,” kyle knight, said a senior researcher on health and LGBT rights at Human Rights Watch. “Far from sexually abusing children, these groups provide important lessons about relationships, autonomy, safety and health.”

If the proposed draft becomes law, it would have a chilling effect on non-governmental organizations and some teachers providing comprehensive sex education, and for Polish schools to address the topics of sexual orientation, gender identity, and reproductive rights, human rights will be extremely difficult. Look where The bill is the latest in a string of dangerous restrictions on sexual, reproductive, and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights that EU leaders must scrutinize as they discuss Poland and Hungary’s EU laws and values ​​in May. had gathered to discuss respect for 30.

New proposed legislation bans such groups from activities that “sexually exploit children”, which would restrict access to providing age-appropriate education on sexual and reproductive health in kindergartens and primary schools, including those up to the age of 15 students are included. High schools and professional and technical schools, which include students up to the age of 20 years, the school principal and the parent council before any non-governmental group enters the school for the proposed law – parents of school students Approval of the institution representing the father will be required. In addition, students participating in group-based educational activities would be required by law to provide written consent from their parents.

Even for organizations that overcome these new barriers to work in kindergartens or elementary schools, the proposed law contains a vague definition of “the sexualization of children,” meaning sexual or reproductive health, healthy relationships, or sexual orientation. and any organization providing information on gender identity. Can run away from it. Previous proposed legislation and statements from PiS politicians have defined “the sexualization of children” as discussion of sexual health, intimate relationships, sexuality, the lives of LGBT people, whom the PiS erroneously claims include children engaging in sexual activity. There is an increased tendency to be or identify as LGBT.

NGOs are often the only providers of comprehensive sexuality education in Poland. National “Preparing for Family Life” Syllabus Currently taught in schools include fake news More about reproductive health and sexuality perpetuates myths and providing evidence-based sex education in line with discriminatory stereotypes, rather than international And regional standards. Poland’s “Preparation for Family Life” curriculum constitutes “abstinence-only” education, meaning that its primary or exclusive purpose is to abstain from premarital sexual intercourse. Previous Ministry of Education guidance on the curriculum discouraged contraceptive use, said masturbation is linked to “pornography addiction, sex addiction” and erroneously stated that emergency contraception is an “early termination of pregnancy drug because conception occurs in the fallopian tube”. and not in utero. Without education provided by non-governmental groups, most students in Poland do not have school-based exposure to scientifically accurate sexual health information.

Accurate and inclusive quality sex education helps Reduce teen pregnancy, maternal mortality and HIV, and promotes healthy relationships. Human Rights Watch stated that children have a right to age-appropriate, inclusive sexual and reproductive health education based on scientific evidence. Children’s right to information includes States not interfering with the provision of this information to private parties and also includes a positive obligation to provide complete and accurate information necessary for the protection and promotion of rights, including the right to health.

The new law that PiS is proposing is similar to the one put forward twice by PiS politician and education minister Przemysław Jarnek. President Andrzej Duda vetoed both versions of that bill, later after widespread protests from students, teachers and civil society Group. PiS leaders have repeatedly used fear mongering around sexuality education to fuel anti-LGBT and anti-choice sentiment and stigmatize human rights defenders, they have accused organizations and schools of threatening so-called traditional families and ” accused of providing comprehensive sex education to “morally depraved” children.

One previous bill Initiated by right-wing PiS allies, currently with parliamentary committees, would amend the criminal code to ban “any person who promotes or approves the undertaking by a minor of sexual intercourse or other sexual activity,” mandating sexuality education or criminalize any person providing the information. Possible prison sentence of up to three years. Under the PiS government, teachers and school administrators Those who advocate for sexuality education or reproductive rights have been harassed, dragged into administrative proceedings, and have their jobs threatened. Since coming to power in 2015, PiS has done a sustained attack on sex and reproductive health rightsLGBT rights and human rights defender.

PiS has presented the draft as a “citizens’ initiative”, meaning party members need to collect 100,000 signatures by 19 July in order to be introduced to parliament. Unlike bills introduced by politicians, citizens’ initiatives do not require a public consultation period, which speeds up the legislative process.

PiS leader Kaczyński has in the past used “the sexualisation of children” rhetoric to promote an anti-LGBT agenda. In an April 2019 speech about “defending families”, he committed to preventing Polish families from being destroyed and to protecting children from sexual abuse. By the end of 2019, nearly 100 anti-LGBT resolutions Known as the “LGBT Ideology Free Zone”.”- was announced by the municipal and regional governments. Fifty-one officially remained at the time of this writing. kaczynski has Said Women’s rights protesters demonstrating against a near-abortion ban on abortion are “attacking our country, the fatherland” and called them “evil”. He has claimed Young women’s alcohol consumption is responsible for Poland’s low birth rate.

“Information about gender and sexuality is already bleak for young people in Poland,” Knight said. “This proposed legislation does not protect anyone, but it does take children away from the services they need to thrive and in some cases survive.”

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