HRC 43: Joint Statement on Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on Cultural Rights

Thank you, Madam President. I make this statement on behalf of the Federation for Women and Family Planning and Action Canada.

We welcome the visit of the Special Rapporteur on cultural rights to Poland in 2018, her comprehensive report on the visit and the recommendations that followed.

We share the concern about culture remaining a key area in which the ruling party attempts to impose its vision of Poland, rather than a sector in which a variety of voices are equally represented. Indeed, some aspects of cultural life in Poland seem to be ideologically circumscribed, especially where women and LGBT people are involved. Poland is a diverse country and should be freed from the attempts at the official cultural engineering.

We welcome the contribution of the report against the fundamentalist and extremist mainstreaming of discriminatory and exclusionary views that impact deleteriously on all spheres of life, including cultural life.

We couldn’t agree more with the Special Rapporteur’s statement that sexual and reproductive health and rights are critical human rights and include State obligations to ensure universal access to comprehensive sexuality education and human rights education. However, we are disappointed by the lack of firm stand that a liberalisation of the law on access of abortion is an indispensable condition for women’s equal participation in cultural life.

We call on the Government of Poland to recognise and combat extremist and fundamentalist ideologies that promote violations of cultural rights. We also call the Government to take concrete steps towards fulfilment of the recommendations of the Rapporteur to ensure that all sectors of vibrant society are included in the cultural life of the country, including women, minorities, persons with disabilities and LGBT persons, without discrimination.